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The Gardens at Bethany ground blessing May 22

by The Rev. Jenn Allen, Diocesan Missioner

After months of hard work, Bishop Cathleen and her team have successfully raised the money needed for the installation of the Garden Project at Bethany Place. Soon we will see new life as the gardens we have imagined become reality! And with the installation of the gardens, we will see the new community form as visitors, neighbors, and new friends come to see the work we have done. I am filled with anticipation as we wait for the weather to warm and the final city permits to come through, so we can actually begin the work of installing the gardens.

I am trying to avoid the use of the word “ground-breaking.” So much of what we have done to creation has involved breaking that which we should be nurturing. It is our own brokenness that contributes to the climate crisis. So instead of a “ground-breaking” we have decided to hold a Ground-Blessing on May 22nd at 4 pm. The bishop will guide us through a blessing of the four corners of the garden, while we honor and recognize the indigenous peoples who lived on this land before us, the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, the Kiikaapoi, the Washtáge Moⁿzháⁿ, and the Osage. After the blessing and land acknowledgement, we will move into All Saints Hall for a viewing of the documentary, Kiss the Ground, narrated by Woody Harrelson. We will have popcorn, lemonade, and cake while we view this important documentary about regenerating and restoring the soil in order to aid water retention and filtration, and carbon sequestration. 

In the months ahead, we will begin to fill positions that will nurture the gardens and continue our ministries in the neighborhood. The first position to be filled, will be the St. Simon’s Justice and Advocacy intern, with a projected start date of June 1. This internship is a 12-month part-time position to support our community work and assist our partner, Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA).  

In August, we hope to engage a Lead Gardener. This is also a part-time, year round position. In 2023 we will add two more positions, the Biodiversity Internship and the Agriculture, Food, and Sustainability Internship. These two internships will be for the summer months. All four positions will include housing and utilities, as well as a stipend. 

It takes all of us imagining a new life in creation for transformation to occur. The Holy Spirit has blessed us with the capacity to dream and yearn for a better future for many generations to come. The thought of seeing our dreams come to life for the St. Simon’s Chapel, the culinary gardens, and the native grasses gardens fills me with joy and gratitude for the generosity and creativity of the Diocese of Kansas. I am so thankful to be a part of this journey toward becoming better Earth Stewards with every one of you. I hope that you will join us for our Ground-Blessing Celebration in May. Also mark your calendars for our ribbon cutting ceremony at Diocesan Convention on Friday, October 21, when we will officially open the Gardens!

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