“Before we dug up the church yard and planted potatoes, I don’t think people even knew we were here,” John Wierwille, pastor of Berea Mennonite Church chuckled. “Now we’re growing, and the farm is no small part of that.” Read their blog.
Berea Mennonite Church is one of a number of Green Patchwork congregations with community gardens—though in this case, farm is a better term.
The small urban church has three acres under cultivation and grows over 70 different organic vegetables on the east edge of Atlanta. Now in its second year, the church sells its food at local farmers’ markets and also provides a first fruits tithe to the community, distributed through a free clinic.
Wierwille, who pastors the congregation and also serves as its MCCN liaison, sees the farm as an integral part of the church’s ministry. “Our relationship with the land is just as important as our relationship with brothers and sisters and enemies and strangers,” he says. For Wierwille, salvation is not primarily individual. “It happens when we work together, risk together, celebrate the harvest together,” he says.
The farm gives the congregation that opportunity, as nearly every member is involved, even the toddlers. Meanwhile, curious neighbors drop in to get food or offer advice on wringing food from Georgia clay.
– Jennifer Halteman Schrock