Our eco-congregation group wanted to involve more people, and since we’re a small church we can manage to involve most of the congregation if we find a good idea!
Sourcing and using locally grown food seemed like a good focus for our celebration of harvest. There’s several good gardeners amongst us, and some of us belong to a group which encourages choosing locally grown produce. We suggested ahead of the date, that at our celebration of creation, we would like to have a bring and share lunch, using specifically locally grown or sourced ingredients.
The ministry team created an all-age worship liturgy, using material from Christian Aid about access to land for honey gatherers in India. This was introduced with a ‘taste test’ of sweet honey and sour vinegar to intrigue the kids. For this valuable and nutritious food, the honey farmers need to have local access to the forests, free from harassment by officials who try to deny them land rights. So we were reminded that for some, access to local food is a necessity, not a consumer choice.
After celebrating creation, giving God our thanks for the earth’s resources, and coming to a new appreciation of what difficulties are involved in how some of these resources are harvested, we cleared space for our celebration lunch. Delicious and imaginative food appeared, and lively conversations flowed as people compared what they had grown and how well (or not) their plants, trees, bushes had flourished. And how their recipes had made the best of what was harvested. Lots more taste-testing!
My favourite moment was when a 4 –year old friend showed me proudly the salad of fresh rocket grown by him and his mum, beautifully decorated with marigold petals. Given our dreadful summer with so much rain and so little light, tales of woeful yields were predominant, but none of us went hungry – unlike some in areas of the world seriously affected by climate change. We also contributed fresh ingredients and tinned food to our celebration display, which were taken to St Catherine’s convent, for their food for the homeless project.
Elizabeth (guest blog)