5/21/2014 9:44:00 AM Glorious growing
Parishes tend gardens
Resurrection Catholic Preschool photo
Resurrection children learn about gardening in parish ministries.
Sacred Heart Parish photo
Bob Hedstrom, Disney the dog, Ingrid DeCarlow, Robert Armstrong, BJ Buxton, Susan Hedstrom, Lin Dotson.
Children at Resurrection Catholic Preschool in Tualatin spent a sunny day digging in the dirt and planting flowers and vegetables in the community garden. They will observe the growth cycle of the plants, document changes, sort and classify plants and harvest the vegetables in the fall. There will be art projects, cooking projects and an abundance of crops to donate to St. Vincent de Paul. The garden provides the preschoolers ample opportunity for curiosity and exploration, while also teaching them the value of patience and service.
The preschoolers recently began an investigation of horticulture. They are investigating what creatures lives in gardens, what grows in gardens, and who works in the parish gardens.
“It’s an environment where children can interact with and get curious about the natural world,” said Tresa Rast, head teacher at the preschool
Master gardener and parishioner Jeff Weigel taught the children the art of gardening. He leads the parish’s garden ministry, which launched last year.
The mission of the garden at Resurrection is to foster greater awareness and involvement by members of the parish community in gardening and to provide much-needed fresh produce for various food banks. People of all ages are actively involved in the ministry.
“Since the opening of the preschool fall of 2013, the two ministries have developed a beautiful partnership that is sure to grow and flourish,” Rast said.
A giving table has been a tradition at the Santiam Vicariate parishes of St. Mary’s in Shaw, Immaculate Conception in Stayton and St. Boniface in Sublimity for many years.
Parishioners are encouraged to share God’s bounty from their gardens with other members of their parish family. Several thousand pounds of garden produce — strawberries, nuts, cabbages, potatoes, apples, beans, corn, squash, apples, etc. — fill the tables every summer and fall. The bounty is collected on tables in the vestibule.
Over the past few summers another aspect of this ministry has been added – flowers to make bouquets for altars are shared each week from members’ gardens.
Kathy McNulty, St. Mary’s administrative assistant, brings bushels of flowers from the beds at her house and more flower gardens at St. Mary’s. Father Ed Coleman tends a flower garden at Immaculate Conception that is also an abundant producer.
The parish ministry often extends to other faith communities in the area. Volunteers arrange the flowers at each parish every week.
“The bountiful blessing of three to four buckets filled with gladiolas, dahlias, asters, strawflowers, sunflowers or zinnias quickly become beautiful floral arrangements to grace the table of our Lord,” McNulty said.
Starting this spring, the St. Francis Church’s Social Action Ministry will tend a garden to provide fresh produce for the parish food pantry.
Volunteers in the parish are already cultivating starts, preparing soil, developing a planting chart and organizing volunteers for garden work days.
“We believe in creating greater access to healthy food for those who are on tight food budgets,” said Jennifer Mirek, social action ministry coordinator. By creating more opportunities to learn how to grow produce and cook with nutritious ingredients, ministry volunteers hope to contribute to a healthier environment for people living on low incomes, Mirek added.
The Hope Garden has received donations from local businesses such as Bark Blowers and Grimm’s Fuel, as well as the Nike Community Garden. St. Francis also received a garden grant from Oregon Food Bank.
The parish plans to offer future “Seed to Supper” and healthy cooking classes.
So far, one 40-by-40-foot garden and five raised beds have been created at the St. Francis Old Hall, 15659 SW Oregon St.
Tigard Girl Scout Troop 40086 is building another raised bed and donating compost/garden mulch. Complementing the Oregon Food Bank’s Healthy Pantry Initiative, the troop is producing a cookbook that will be distributed to pantry clients. The cookbook will focus on whole food ingredients, and recipes for cooking with produce from the parish garden.
A group of dedicated parishioners gather every Wednesday morning at Sacred Heart Church from March through October.
The “Wednesday Weeders” clean up and maintain the landscaping around the church, parish hall, office and priests’ homes.
Pulling weeds, pruning shrubs, removing crowded bushes and trees, and spreading yards of wood chips, they have served their parish community and built relationships with one another.
The Wednesday weeders are Bob Hedstrom, Ingrid DeCarlow, Robert Armstrong, BJ Buxton, Susan Hedstrom, Lin Dotson, and Larry and Louise Gorman.