Welcome to our blog series—At the Table: Baptist Fight Hunger!
Part 8 is by Thomas Lipscomb, a member of Mosaic of Clayton. Mosaic is a CBF church start located in Clayton, N.C. and pastored by CBF church starter Andy Hale.
By Thomas Lipscomb
Mosaic Community Garden began in March of 2012 out of a ministry idea discussed in a community group. Within three months, an empty gravel lot in downtown Clayton, N.C., had been transformed into the most beautiful spot in town, where volunteers work side by side to grow healthy vegetables for our neighbors who have difficulty obtaining them.
Providing food for those in need is our unifying purpose!
Diversity is an actuality at the garden where people of practically every denomination, faith, race, and economic status cooperate to fulfill this vision. The garden, constructed entirely of repurposed materials, also promotes sustainable gardening practices, believing that respect for our Creator is expressed by our respect for His creation.
All beds are raised to facilitate participation by the elderly and those with physical limitations. Our water supply is reclaimed into rain barrels from partnerships with adjacent businesses.
Volunteers at the garden covenant to care for a specific bed for a growing season and to intentionally seek out someone in our community who needs what they produce in order to build continuing relationships and also open our eyes to the needs around us. Assistance is provided so that even novice gardeners are assured of a successful experience.
It is indeed a special person who will toil to produce vegetables through the heat of July or the chill of January only to give away all they have produced!
It is the presence of people of this nature that make the garden an inviting place for our community to gather and for friendships to be readily formed.
39 volunteers currently care for the garden, among them are families wanting to help others while learning to garden, a horticultural therapy group for adults with disabilities, a substance abuse rehab center, several retirees, students from local schools, and of course people who need food and are willing to grow it themselves.
Mosaic Community Garden believes in empowering, not enabling. Those who we serve are expected to allow us to construct a garden for them at their home if they are able to tend it.
We do not condemn nor coerce visitors to ascribe to a particular set of beliefs. Many of our visitors and participants are those who once had a dim view of religion, but upon witnessing the simplicity and authenticity of neighbors serving neighbors become open to reassessing matters of faith.
Mutual respect provides a fertile ground for spiritual discussion as relationships mature. Amazing spiritual transformations have taken place.
Ours is a patient and gentle evangelism, willing to simply love and serve for as long as needed and respecting the inherent dignity of all those created in God’s image. Granted it is not the accepted evangelism model, but guess what, it works!
See additional information below about the state of hunger in Johnston County, N.C., courtesy of Map the Meal Gap, a project of Feeding America. Check out statistics for your area with this interactive online tool.
Previous posts in this series:
Part 7 — The Cleveland County Potato Project