Our Growing Project Adds to the Fabric of our Christian Life and Faith
The Growing Project at Grossnickle Church of the Brethren has become an important part of our worship and social interaction within our church family.
Each year in April we have our Growing Project Kick-off Sunday. Activities have included the farmers drive their tractors to church, children displaying their toy tractors in the narthex, focusing the children’s message around world hunger or a project or country we have recently supported with donations and inviting folks to support the efforts of our project by “buying” an acre of the fifty-five acres we plant each year, or just making a contribution.
In May or June we hold our Blessing of the Seed service, meeting at the farm where crops are planted and asking the Lord’s blessing upon the seed and the soil, praying for rain, for the farmers who plant, cultivate, and harvest our yearly crops, for those who benefit from the programs, and for those who support our program with their prayers and contributions. After the service we go to our parish hall and have homemade ice cream & strawberries and fellowship with members of all the churches involved in our project. There are presently ten churches from four denominations. I am very proud of the ecumenical nature of our participating churches, all of which are within less than a 20-mile radius of the farm where our crops are planted.
September or October brings our annual Harvest Festival where all churches and supporters meet for a celebration of the crops and bounty of the past growing year. We have a service of worship and thanksgiving and then share a meal consisting of both American food and food from the country we’ve chosen to support that year. Activities include scarecrow making for the children, tractor-pulled hay rides for all ages, a cake auction and sometimes guessing games or farming demonstrations. A good time is had by all.
Numerous years we have held Thank You luncheons in January or February where we invite all of our supporters and many times guest speakers from Growing Hope Globally. To involve as many folks and groups as possible, we have had the Junior and Senior High Youth from our church do the entire preparation, cooking, and serving of the meal.
Our project has also included fundraisers like making and selling soup and sandwiches to all of the congregations who are a part of the project, or collecting aluminum cans that are recycled and cashed in for the project, or setting up fundraisers at local restaurants who then donate a portion of their profits for the evening to the Growing Project. This also provides an additional opportunity for fun and fellowship together with the various congregations.
Our Growing Project is fun and adds a lot to the fabric of our Christian life and faith.
-by Elvin Stottlemyer, Growing Project Volunteer, Senior High School youth leader and Sunday School teacher at Grossnickle Church of the Brethren in Myersville, Maryland.