Growing a Living Church

By Laura Phillips, International Headquarters intern
Re-blogged from: Connect-Engage-Inspire

I didn’t want to just sit in church. I believe we’re called to action, to be in the community doing stuff, and I have a hard time believing that we as a people are meant to go into a church building and just sit and worship. You need to be out helping and doing that on a day-to-day basis. – Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams’ belief led him to start the Kirtland, Ohio, community garden with Andy and Blake Smith. They wanted the opportunity for families to teach children about fresh produce and to provide food to people in need.

They envisioned a world where the abundance of God’s food is fairly and justly distributed, all are fed, and there is peace on Earth. They needed volunteers and financial support to start. So they applied for a World Hunger grant (funded by contributions to Abolish Poverty, End Suffering), and found more support in other local churches.

With that backing, the Kirtland community garden was all green thumbs up! The garden holds some plots where people can grow food for themselves, and others are set aside for a pantry.

Kirtland Community Garden

Kirtland Community Garden

But who maintains the garden?

That is where volunteers like Bill Bauman come in. Because of last summer’s heat and lack of rain, the garden needed daily watering. Every day, you could see a sweaty Bill caring for the plants.

“I help at the garden because this is a brilliant idea,” he said. “There are people in great need of vegetables. I’ve seen neighbors starting to get to know each other and support coming in from the community.”

The garden strives to minister to a community that needs it. The leaders want to Abolish Poverty, End Suffering by feeding people. They have big hopes. They’d like to get more beds to increase their harvest. They’d also like to teach people how to grow and use fresh produce.

“The community really gets involved when it comes time to get the garden ready,” Williams said. “The missionaries from the Kirtland historic site help set up the beds, and I don’t think it would have happened without them.”

He summed up the mission: “At the end of a hard day of work, I just love the quiet. I love seeing my work come up in the spring and knowing the impact it will have in the fall. …That’s not sitting in church. That’s living it. It’s what we’re supposed to do.”

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