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FALL 2020
 Gardening with Heart in Tweed
  By the Rev. Stephen Brown, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Tweed, Ont.
At St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Tweed, Ont., we have a garden project. Ours is a teaching garden fo- cusing on combatting food insecurity and loneliness, particularly among seniors within our community. It has been a fulfilling project—but the jour- ney through the pandemic has been particularly astounding, and I’d like to share it.
This was an unlikely project in the first place. Rural people tend to have space—community gardens aren’t the necessity they are in urban ar- eas. We almost dismissed the idea. But we also realized that it’s difficult for newcomers to break into social circles that go back generations. They also may not know what to do with their land. And while we don’t have many resources to offer, we have half of the hor ticulture society in the pews on Sunday. Clearly, a garden is what God was calling us to plant. In the end, what we realized we had to offer was community and education—things Tweed needed. The idea of the teaching garden is to build community through enabling anyone in Tweed to join in and learn about sustainable healthy home food production. It’s been a great success and constantly spins off other creative ministries. We almost dismissed it—but the Spirit had other plans.
Then the pandemic came. At first, it looked like community gar- dens would not be allowed. On top of that, in a terrible twist of misfor- tune, our leader and primary teacher broke both her legs (she’s recover- ing well!). So, our expert was only available to guide us over the phone, and only a single household group
at a time was allowed into the gar- den. This was certainly not what we had planned.
But here’s the amazing par t. While things haven’t exactly gone smooth- ly—miscommunications and mis- takes have been plentiful—we have been able to provide more educa- tional oppor tunities and community building than we likely would have done under normal circumstances. With our expert on the other side of the phone and no hands-on as- sistance allowed, people have had to learn by doing. Moreover, they’ve had to learn how to coordinate and work with each other in ways they otherwise wouldn’t have. We’ve had to learn to be more graceful and accepting of the unexpected. Many volunteers from last year have had to stay home while oth- ers were looking for something to get them out of the house, so the community has expanded. Frankly, the upheaval would normally result in a combination of irritating and terrifying, but the pandemic has put it into perspective, making the new way okay, and people are willing to push themselves a little fur ther. And while education and community are the priorities, the garden is still pro- ducing very well.
I want to share another success.
This is the third year we have plant- ed a hear t garden, symbolizing our support of residential school survi- vors. Usually it has flowers in it, but we were only allowed vegetables. So we planted using an Indigenous method called “three sisters.” Corn stalks are the support for beans, and squash protects the roots of both. We have interspersed these with plywood hear ts that were sent home for households to draw reconcili- ation-themed ar t on. These hear ts were organized and distributed by a terrific woman in our congregation who has become a great teacher for us on the topic of inclusion. She spearheaded this project that would not have happened otherwise.
I share this story because during the pandemic, the danger is to focus on what we’ve lost or can’t do. We had plans for our garden—and they were good ones. But we’ve been led in a different direction and it turns outtobeagoodoneinwayswe couldn’t have imagined. We keep hearing that the post-pandemic world will not return to the way it was. I ask: Is that a bad thing?
At the time of writing this article, the world has lost over six hundred and fifty thousand people to the cor- onavirus with over 16 million cases globally. The existence of rampant
racism has come front and cen- tre. Shor tcomings in our politics, social programs, health care and long-term care have been exposed, despite being warned for years that we’re not equipped for a global pan- demic. These impor tant issues are not new—the pandemic has merely held up a mirror. As confessional, resurrection people, we should be embracing the future. We should be comfor table with recognizing our humanity, and try to tap into the di- vine to be led to a healthier place that we would not come to on our own. Even when we have great plans— the Holy Spirit may have even better ones we could never anticipate.
  St. David’s Online “Treasures Auction”
 By the Rev. Drew Jacques, St. David’s Presbyterian Church in Campbellville, Ont.
Historically, a key component of fun- draising efforts at St. David’s Pres- byterian Church in Campbellville, Ont., was community breakfasts. At one time they generated a significant stream of revenue.
At our last Breakfast and Bazaar, six people spent nearly 30 hours getting the event together. It was quite nice; however, the breakfast side of the event brought in less than $200.
Then came the disruption and with it the realization that it will be a long time before St. David’s has a com- munity breakfast again.
Of course, Murphy’s Law came into play and we discovered a golf- ball-sized hole in the steeple where water was leaking in. Where did the
hole come from? Windstorm? Light- ning? Ice falling off a Boeing 767? We didn’t know. It really didn’t matter how it got there; what mattered was that it needed to be repaired.
At this year’s annual general meet- ing, the congregation voted for a fun- draising effort to be initiated before any repairs were done on the build- ing. This decision was made to re- duce, or limit, the funds taken from the rapidly diminishing Bequeath Fund for repairs. I suggested we do an online “Treasures Auction” with a company called Maxsold.
The idea of “treasures” comes from Matthew 6:19–21, and the auction was inspired by the awareness that we all have a lot of stuff that we need to unload, or leave to our kids to sort through. The future is about getting light. In my 30-odd years of conduct- ing funerals, I’ve never seen a hearse
pulling a U-Haul into a cemetery.
A treasure is something of value, something that collectors might be interested in (i.e., original art, mid- century modern décor, collectible glassware, jewelry, CD/DVDs). The call was put out to the congregation to donate a treasure. Many did, and additional donations came out of the
blue from the community as well. The auction ran from June 22 until June 30. Altogether, we raised over $2,800 (or 14 community break- fasts). We are confident that the cost to repair the hole in the steeple will be
less than the amount raised.
We are encouraged by the suc-
cess of our first online auction, and we plan to do it again in the fall.
Special thanks to Corinne, Noreen, Norma, Lisa and Jane for getting it together, and to all who volunteered on pick-up day.

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