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Garden of Hope - Stone Creek Baptist Church

 

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders, 

In 2012 the Garden of Hope Community Garden at Stoney Creek Baptist Church (London) was officially opened. It was developed in partnership with a community agency working with government-resettled refugees. This 2-acre garden is an urban farming initiative focused on meeting the health, nutritional, spiritual and employment needs of refugee immigrant families.
 
The Garden of Hope began on a piece of land zoned to one day be a road, and for years the church had been trying to sell this excess land. As it turns out, God had other plans.
 
Pastor Mark Farrow writes, “Why initially build it on land that would one day be a road? Frankly, we didn’t know if the garden would be successful, as our church property is a 30-minute walk for most of the gardeners. Turns out, 30 minutes pales in comparison to the hours and hours many of these families walked each day in their home countries!”
 
In 2018, a major gas line required maintenance and Union Gas needed to tear up a section of the property, including a large part of the Garden. Knowing the impact this would have on the families who garden, Stoney Creek asked Union Gas if they would be willing to pay for the garden’s relocation to another place on the church property. They agreed!  So, last spring the Garden was moved to its new, permanent location -- and the Lord provided Union Gas to pay for it!
 
Families from the church also have plots and they garden alongside the refugee families. It has resulted in some fantastic friendships being formed, along with shared farming techniques. 
 
“Once a year during the harvest season, the Farmers come together on a Sunday to put on the Garden of Hope Harvest Lunch for the church family after our service,” Mark writes. “All the gardeners show up for our Sunday service (Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus included) and prepare dishes for lunch using the vegetables they grew in their gardens as a way to say thanks to our church family.  The food is always fantastic, but the best part is, we get to all sit down together and fellowship around the tables over the meal!”
 
Let's be praying for Stoney Creek and the Garden of Hope. The Garden is already providing connections between the church and the farming families, and some of these community families are beginning to send their kids to church camps and programs. 

 

 

How is your church thinking outside the box when it comes to connecting with the community? Email me and let me know - I'd love to hear your story. 

Bob Flemming
Regional Director