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
Sixteen youth and three adults from the Presbyterian Church of Wyoming journeyed in June 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 much 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 out across 1.25 acres of certified organic urban garden space, in addition to orchards. Their mission seeks to build a just, beautiful food system through education, inspiration, and community development. As a working study in both social justice and in knowing the origins of the food we eat, Earthworks strives to restore connection to the environment and community.
Upon their return home, our youth mission team shared some of their stories and led Presbyterian Church of Wyoming worshipers in a service 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, as well as their children and some youth from other churches who were also helping out. Finally, 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 sometimes stopped to talk about the beauty and development in Roxanne and Donald’s garden. It’s for the man on the bike who passed 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, all who were gathered 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!