When someone starts up a new church it is called a church "planting." And after seven years on West 6th St., San Pedro, California, both the garden and the Garden Church have been thoroughly planted.
I often look at the picture of our founding pastor, Rev. Anna Woofenden, and our first lead gardener, Lara Hughy standing outside our fence, looking in on a lot which, apart from a dinosaur sculpture, is completely barren. Today herbs, flowers and vegetables are spilling out of raised bed and metal troughs. We have a worship space, a prayer garden, a children's garden and I've lost track of how many compost bins. Even our uncultivated areas are overgrown with -- shall we say? -- "volunteer" plants. An oasis of green in an urban port town.
And we have been thoroughly planted as a church community as well.
In these seven years we have seen the departure of our founding pastor and the Garden Church is now led by a board elected from its own membership. With support from the Swedenborgian Church of North America and our friends from around the country, the Garden Church has continued to garden, worship, and feed its neighbors throughout the pandemic. Members and volunteers from the Garden Church and our companion organization, Feed and be Fed Farm, have displayed a lively sense of innovation and continue create new classes, new events, new fundraisers and new opportunities to simple enjoy each other's company.
Seven is a symbolic number, representing a full cycle. While still young and resilient, the Garden Church is no longer a start-up but an enduring part of San Pedro.
I will be retiring from the ministry of the Garden Church at the end of June, and our board is putting together a ministry team led by Rev. Dr. Amanda Adams Riley, who is continuing her service to the Garden Church. Look for more details soon.
The Lord wanted the Garden Church to happen. Of this I have been convinced by watching people show up, fall in love with the vision, and pour out all their creative energies, while developing deep bonds of friendship. And I firmly believe that Lord will continue to grow this garden and this community as a place where are all welcome to feed and be fed in body, mind and spirit.
Join us this Sunday as we look toward the next seven years.
Keep on Growing,
3pm Work Together
4pm Worship Together
5pm Eat together