As I reflect on the past year I can’t help but think of Anne Lamott’s “three essential prayers”… Help. Thanks. Wow. These prayers have become a daily and yearly rhythm as I work to live out my calling as a creation keeper and staff member of A Rocha Canada.
I regularly ask both you and God to join me in this journey – with finances, prayers and participation. These are my “help” prayers, because I know I can not do this work alone.
And this year I have felt so supported and loved I just want to say “thanks”. Thank you to all those who donated time, money and supplies to this ministry. Thank you to my colleagues, friends and family who have supported me in a myriad of ways. And especially thank you to God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control – all of which I have experienced this year.
Now please share with me a prayer of “wow” for the things that God has done and is doing in Northern BC.
Just a friendly reminder to stop by the A Rocha booth at the fall fair in Smithers this week starting Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and running until Sunday afternoon. The Exhibition theme this year is “95 years of horsing around” so I played off of that and have a “While you’re out horsing around…remember our salmon” display featuring the work I am doing as an Upper Bulkley River Streamkeeper. I am hoping to get more volunteers, share the work of A Rocha locally, nationally and internationally and engage in the conversation of conservation from a Christian faith perspective. For those of you who pray, I would love your input. If you are able to stop by to spell me off occasionally that would be great too. Blessings and…quite horsing around…get down there and check it out!
Happy Earth week! Recently 10 ladies at a GIFT night (Gals Inviting Friends Together) learned some of the things I do to reduce, reuse and recycle in the bathroom. Ok, so it seems like a strange topic but it’s true. There are many things we can do to live lightly in the bathroom. Make your own deodorant , kick the toothpaste habit, and purchase toilet paper made from recycled paper are just a few. If you want to learn more visit my blog at www.abidingbranch.wordpress.com for my notes from the presentation. If you would like to have your own Living Lightly presentation let me know at cindy.verbeek(at)arocha.ca.
Bulkley Valley A Rocha group gathering this Tuesday
Nov 23 2013
Join us for this inspiring documentary of the life of Aldo Leopold, author of A Sand County Almanac and one of the founding fathers of conservation in North America. Be inspired challenged to see the land differently and join the discussion on what we can do to make a change in our own lives here in Houston, BC!
The Bulkley Valley A Rocha group will meet this Tuesday night.
Green Fire: Aldo Leopold & A Land Ethic for Our Time
This summer has been a busy one for A Rocha in Northern BC. Read on to hear how staff member Cindy Verbeek has lived out A Rocha’s core commitments (otherwise known as “The Five Cs”).
Christians in the Bulkley Valley have been encouraged to partner with Good Seed Sunday this coming fall,
Conservation research on salmon-bearing Buck Creek was completed which will contribute to restoration efforts in the Upper Bulkley/Skeena watershed,
Community was built as folks enjoyed the A Rocha booth at the Bulkley Valley Exhibition in Smithers,
Cross-cultural dialogue and understanding was built as Cindy presented findings from her recent trip to east Africa about how Kenyans and Ugandans are being affected by and working to alleviate the impact of climate change and what we can do as North Americans to partner with them,
Cooperation was fostered between A Rocha’s partner HOPE (Healthy Options for People and the Earth) Society in Houston to present the Pleasant Valley Community market where farmer’s and artisans can present their wares during the summer months.
The most satisfying activity though, Cindy says, is the Mountain View Community Garden at Houston Christian Reformed Church, a member of A Rocha’s Community Garden Network. Though small in size, a number of families are able to grow healthy food for themselves on the 50×75-foot plot on the church’s property. Many people in Houston have large gardens, but this is a place for people without access to land to try their hand at growing their own food and becoming more connected with the land that they call home.
“As people work the soil there is a sense of connection with the created world and the Creator that does not come with any other activity,” Cindy explains. “Metaphors that Jesus uses in his parables come to life as we watch seeds turn to plants, dig weeds and prepare the soil. I am delighted to be a catalyst for this kind of interaction and am thankful to all the people in my congregation who have helped make this garden a reality.”
One of the most challenging parts of A Rocha’s work in the area is having the resources to do all that could be done in Northern BC. We are few people spread along vast areas of wilderness, but connections are being made and more and more Christians are becoming intentionally involved in creation care. To join the growing team of Christians in Northern BC and partner with A Rocha in this important work, visit Cindy’s blog at www.arocha.ca/author/Cindy or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or better yet, stop by for a cup of tea – mint from the garden of course.
Mountain View Community Garden – Same garden, New name.
Sep 08 2013
Four years ago I approached our church council at Houston Christian Reformed Church to see if there might be enough interest to start a community garden on church land. It sounded like a good idea at the time – I mean we have all this land why not put some of into food production for the community. Responses where “that’s a great idea Cindy you should do it”; “you can’t even grow potatoes in that land” and “the deer will eat everything”. Needless to say I was too stubborn (and naïve) to listen to anyone. I found one other brave soul to join me in doing the organizing and planning and decided to give it a go.
One church member brought in his backhoe and dug up the soil, another brought a truck load of manure laden soil from his farm to fill it up and yet another came with his tiller to mix it all. And so, four years ago, our little 75 x 50 plot became our church community garden.
Since then it has not grown in size but has developed into a pretty little garden on the hill complete with deer fence (the deer were indeed a problem) and a used shed that was moved from the parsonage during renovations. This year the building committee dug a trench, laid piping and set up water taps right at the garden instead of having to haul the hose to connect to the pastor’s house whenever we needed water! And, with the help of the congregation we even came up with an official name: Mountain View Community Garden.
So today I want to take back any whining I did over the years about nobody supporting me in this project. Please forgive me for not seeing all the help you have provided and my hat’s off to all of those wonderful people who have stepped up to help. Thank you so much!
To date we have had over a dozen different gardeners ranging from 4 to 8 per year. We still have lots to develop on the community side of things but we’re on the right track. Now that the physical on the ground logistics are taken care of I would love to see this garden become a place where people can meet, share gardening stories and experience and share the love of Christ with the earth and the neighbours around us. As visions of a food forest, a potato patch, picnicking area with campfire spot, native learning garden, prayer garden, berry patch and other fun gardening ideas running around in my head I realize I’m going to need more help. Or I could just leave it small and enjoy seeing people grow food for their families and community members! As they say in Uganda – Kamu Kamu Gwe Muganda (one by one makes a bundle) and really, only God knows what’s in store. But if the entire church could catch the vision of caring for this piece of earth that God has given us to steward just imagine what it could be…Join me in praying for this exciting project.
Mountain View Community Garden is a project of Houston Christian Reformed Church and a member of A Rocha’s Community Gardening Network
Come out and support one of A Rocha’s partners in Houston, Healthy Options for People and the Earth (HOPE) Society.
In the loft of the Houston Legion
October 5th, 2013
Doors open at 6:00 pm
Salmon dinner at 6:30 pm
Presentation, silent auction and dancing to follow.
Enjoy local food purchased from the Pleasant Valley Community Market in Houston (run by HOPE) with a grant awarded to A Rocha Canada by the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Salmon is donated by the Wet’suwet’en. (How’s that for partnerships!)
Tickets are $25.00 for single, $40 for couple and can be purchased at Countrywide Stationary or the Public Library in Houston (or email email@example.com)
This year A Rocha will host a booth at Smithers’ Fall Fair in northern BC from August 22nd-25th. Come down to the fair, enjoy local entertainment, local foods, rides, rodeo, and stop by the A Rocha booth to find out what’s happening in the Bulkley Valley. For more information contact A Rocha’s “northern outpost” in Houston at 250-845-2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org