by Rev. Leanne Masters, Pastor at Southern Heights Presbyterian Church
My family and I moved to Lincoln just under a year ago as I received the call to serve Southern Heights Presbyterian Church (SHPC) at the corner of 40th and Old Cheney Road. When I arrived, I was excited to learn about this innovative collaboration between SHPC, Community CROPS and Nature Explore as the three organizations joined together to create something new and exciting for the community.
Since that time, as I talk with people throughout the region and nation about what it is that we are doing on the South two acres of our property, the question inevitably is asked, “Why are you doing this?” The question is never asked negatively, but honestly out of curiosity, as it is something that is unknown to most communities and they want to know why it is that a church and a pastor would invest time, energy, land and resources to such a project.
My response simply is, “It’s what we’re called to do.”
And I truly believe that.
In a future post, I will share why I, personally, feel called to this work…but today, I feel that it is important for me to stress that it’s not just me, but the community of SHPC that believes this.
We believe that we are called by God to care for the great creation that God has given us. And, as a result, we are active and proactive in our conservation efforts. We work to reduce our consumption, waste and energy usage. We use post consumer recycled products where we can, and where we can’t, we make sure that what we do use is recyclable or biodegradable. We invest in sustainable growing efforts around the globe, and we support and endorse the “Fair Trade” industry.
We also believe that we are called, through the teachings of Christ, to care for people in a number of ways, one of which is to feed those who are hungry. We do this in a number of different ways, including (but not limited to) by supporting the work of the Community Food Pantry financially and through donations of food and by cooking and serving meals at The Gathering Place on a regular basis.
As people of faith, we believe that we are called to live out those callings (and more) in all that we do: in our worship, in our work and in our play, in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds. And so, when we were given the chance to engage these two callings (care of creation and care of people through food) in one project it seemed the perfect opportunity to live out what we feel called to. Engaging in and supporting the work of Food Forest is one way that we strive to do so.
I am so glad that you are joining us in on this journey as we work together, each for our own reasons, to care for and nurture creation and to share food with our neighbors and community.