Deacon Peggy Grant
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” Colossians 3:23
The Presbyterian Church of Wyoming High School Ecumenical Youth Group finishes each program year with a mission trip either local, national or international. In June 2023, sixteen youths and three adults from the PCW youth group journeyed to Detroit, Michigan, for eight days of hard work, fellowship and broadened life experiences. Working alongside staff at Earthworks Urban Farm, they tore off and rebuilt a porch, built twelve raised bed gardens, moved thirty yards of mulch into beds, chipped up trees and put the wood chips between the beds, cleared over twenty yards of rubbish, patched a hole in the roof, patched basement windows, installed a water catchment system, and did LOTS of weeding.
Founded in 1998, Earthworks Urban Farm is a program of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen run by the Franciscan friars. The farm is spread across 1.25 acres of certified organic urban garden space, in addition to their orchards. Their mission seeks to build a just and beautiful food system through education, inspiration and community development. Earthworks strives to restore connection between the environment and community, as a working study in both social justice and in knowing the origins of the food we eat.
Upon their return home, our youth mission team shared some of their stories and led Presbyterian Church of Wyoming worshippers in a service that they also helped plan and lead. One student told us how much she learned from and enjoyed getting to know the people who worked on the farm and in the soup kitchen, among many others she met. She told us, “This part is for the people in Detroit whose names we did not learn. It’s for the people who passed by in cars and waved, or stopped to talk about the beauty and development in Roxanne and Donald’s garden. It’s for the man who biked by and shouted, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work!’ We may not have gotten to know these people by name and story, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t touch our lives.”
Another student related how, for the first time, he really began to understand scripture and what the Lord was telling him through the Bible. “One particular passage stuck out to me about ‘removing the log from our own eye’. This means that before we judge others based on the ‘speck’ we see in them, we must first work to remove the ‘log’ from our own judgment.”
As the worship service closed, we all formed a huge circle, held hands and sang together “Draw the Circle Wide.” I left with tears in my eyes and thankfulness that our God continues to touch all lives, young and old and in between!