Colonial Gardens 3

Starting last Spring, the landscaping of the Colonial Church grounds will extend beyond beautiful ornamental plants and good lawn care.

Picture from last summer's pilot planting box. Click to enlarge.We figured if the Pilgrims grew their own food, then it was good for us as well. So we’re tilling the earth, grabbing a trowel, and dropping seed into the ground for The Colonial Gardens. Traditional Pilgrim bonnets are optional.

Whatever the season, drivers approaching Colonial have always been welcomed with a beautiful sight. That won’t change and, in fact, we think it will be even more beautiful around Colonial. Shrubs will be replaced with squash. Burrs will be replaced with berries. Weeds will be replaced by watermelon.

And buckthorn…well, we’re just replacing that stuff.

 

There are several reasons for The Colonial Gardens:

  • Picture of last's Summer's 'testing bed', planted behind the church. Click to enlarge.It’s practical. The current landscaping plan was implemented roughly 25 years ago, so many of the current trees and landscaping is at the end of their natural life cycle. We’d be implementing a new landscaping plan anyway; why not look toward something that is generative?
  • It’s good theology.  As people made by God from the dust of the ground (Gen 2), we are related to the well-being of the earth. When Scripture speaks of new heaven and and a new earth (Rev 19), that vision extends from the resurrection of human bodies themselves, connecting us to the new world then in ways that extend back into our present. Moreover, as stewards given dominion over creation (Gen 2), rather than domination, it is our God-given duty to care for God’s world as we care for our own bodies. Humans and the earth are made of the same material. Thus, whatever we can do to assure the continued care and flourishing of the earth we should seek to do as Christians, anticipating that day when both we and the creation we inhabit will be redeemed into a glorious newness (Romans 8).Those are the words that Daniel shared when I asked him to write a brief summary of his theology on creation care.
  • It’s missional. A huge hope of The Colonial Gardens is that the harvest would go toward mission. Imagine the Mobile Market bus being filled with fresh tomatoes, potatoes, and beans which were grown by the people of Colonial. That’s cool.
  • It’s relevant. Community gardens are becoming more accepted and desired as part of a strong “back to the basics” movement we’re seeing in our culture. Americans are caring more about what goes into their food and where it comes from. Recycling isn’t optional, it’s expected. The changes inside of the building – increased recycling bins, ceramic coffee mugs, energy saving lighting – are now being mirrored outside of the building.
  • It makes us a better church. Volunteers will care for The Colonial Gardens and Grow and Serve groups will be offered it as a service option. Churches serve, and in doing so, community is strengthened. The Colonial Gardens will be something our community shares, works toward, and reaps the benefits of.

 

The Colonial keepers of the bees, all suited up. Click to embiggen. The Colonial Gardens are not mere greenwashing, an occasional practice in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims and/or policies are environmentally friendly. This is coming from a sincere desire to be careful stewards, feeling it is our duty to care well for God’s creation, and in doing so, produce something that can be of benefit to others.

 

Filling the hive. Click to embiggen.One final thing. The Colonial Gardens will include bees! We have 2 hives of honey bees (not the scary, stingy kind of bees). The honey bees – in addition to producing delicious honey – have something to teach us about community, being that a bee hive only exists by working together.

We’re not positive the Pilgrims had bees, but we’re pretending they did. After all, we need something to pollenate our flowers, right?

 

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