GENERAL CONVENTION 2003
Environmental Stewardship Commission
Co-Hosts "Family Harvest Meal"
Story and photos by Susan Barksdale
Over 80 people sat down to a family dinner at the Church of Gethsemane on Monday,
August 4. This was a family meal in many senses of the word. Not only was the
food shared around the tables as in an old-fashioned farm kitchen, but nearly
everything was locally grown, and all was organically produced.
The hall at Gethsemane was filled for this Ã¬Episcopal Church Harvest BanquetÃ® with diners from General Convention, the Minnesota Environmental Stewardship Commission, members of other environmental stewardship groups, and national and international guests. Brimming platters of vegetables, potatoes, and roast pork and beef were shared at the tables. Several of the food producers were present at the dinner, which was, incidentally, one of the most delicious meals that this writer has enjoyed in a long time.
The hall at the Church of Gethsemane
was filled with diners from General Convention
and environmental stewardship organizations.
The meal was held Ã¬to acknowledge local, sustainable farmers in Minnesota, and to honor the Episcopal ChurchÃs commitment to environmental stewardship.Ã® Sponsors included the Episcopal Ecological Network, the diocesan Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC), and the Land Stewardship Project, an organization which works with small farmers and others to encourage stewardship for the land and work for social and economic justice for the independent family farm.
Lou Schoen, senior warden of Gethsemane Church
(green shirt), was among the diners at
yesterday's meal that showcased locally-
Ã¬I am thrilled that the Episcopal Church is connecting with the Land Stewardship
Project,Ã® said Patricia Allen-Unger of Mazeppa, a member of St. LukeÃs in Rochester.
Allen-Unger is a former organic farmer, and is a member of MEESC. John Johnson
of the Episcopal ChurchÃs Government Relations Office in Washington, DC, agreed.
He serves on the Presiding BishopÃs staff and helps to advocate for public policy
issues in the capital, including the protection of the Arctic wilderness from
gas and oil drilling.
Over a dessert of all-butter pound cake, ice cream, and raspberries, diners listened eagerly to a number of speakers. MEESC chair Wanda Copeland introduced several special guests. The Rev. Canon John Peterson, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion and a native
Minnesotan, spoke briefly of the Anglican CommunionÃs newly-established environmental coordinating network. The Rev. Eric Beresford of the Anglican Church of Canada shared hopes for international cooperation. Chef Nathalie Johnson of Signature CafÃˆ and Catering in Minneapolis, who prepared the meal, told appreciative listeners that she had Ã¬learned how to cook in the basement of a Swedish Lutheran Church.Ã®
The Right Reverend Mark McDonald,
Bishop of Alaska, addressed the
diners yesterday at Gethsemane Church.
Dinner guests enjoyed cups of BishopÃs Blend coffee, a shade-grown, fairly traded product distributed by Episcopal Relief and Development, as they listened to the impassioned words of the final speakers. Sarah James is GwichÃin from Alaska and lives in an area that is threatened
by federal drilling for gas and oil. The GwichÃin are 90% Episcopalian. Ã¬The coastal plain of the Arctic National Refuge is our birthplace,Ã® James said. Ã¬We call it Ã«the place where life began.ÃÃ® She has worked since the late 1980s to prevent drilling in the area, and is grateful for the support of the Episcopal Church in these efforts.
Ã¬The Lord be with you; youÃre all my relatives,Ã® said Bishop Mark MacDonald of Alaska, the final speaker. In a series of images and Ã¬snapshots,Ã® he spoke of the growing alienation of the human race from Ã¬the creation around us, and also from the heart of our own faith.Ã® Using Biblical images, especially that of the Baptism of Christ, Bishop MacDonald spoke of Ã¬greed, the silent idolatry and of the deep environmentalism in our faith that we need to rediscover. Ã¬Scripture says that GodÃs purpose is to unite ALL things in Christ, not just human beings,Ã® he stressed.
MacDonald issued an invitation to a faith Ã¬that can see the world in a new way.Ã® Time and again, he added, the Bible tells us, Ã¬If we all share, there is enough for every one of us. If we donÃt share, there is not enough for anybody. If we donÃt articulate this in a loving way as
Christians, we are not faithful to the Gospel.Ã® The standing applause from the dinner guests showed that they were ready to begin this mission.
— Courtesy of the Diocese of Minnesota
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