The delicious taste of rural ministry

October 12, 2010

The
farm-to-fork movement is uber-hip. But this post is about something even more
local: tasty backyard garden-grown food in season. It's one of the perks of
rural ministry.

My
partner and I are shareholders in an organic farm that operates under the community-supported
agriculture model. We love our weekly box teeming with vegetables grown by
people we know at a farm we can visit-and help weed.

What's
even better is the apple crumble delivered to my study desk recently, still
hot, and filling the whole church with the smell of baked-apple goodness. The
apples were from a church member's tree—I can see his house from the window of
the manse. 

There's
scrumptious plum jelly, also made with produce from a member's tree, and on
many summer Sundays I return to my office after worship and find a bag full of
tomatoes or apples picked that morning. They have discolored spots and are oddly
shaped, but they taste as sweet as the land on which they were grown.

Then
there's the retired farmer who pickles beets and makes his own sauerkraut—and
shares with the pastor.  

Sure,
your downtown church may have a Starbucks nearby, but I have ten gardens within
walking distance, and they don't take cash, credit or debit. It tastes good to
be a rural pastor.