This past Friday, I added another item to my list of Things They Didn't Teach Me in Seminary: Gardening.
Here at Mt. Nebo, we have a lot of property. The church was built in 1838, back when Ohio Township was mostly farmland. We have a cemetery, a manse, and a large triangle across the street from the church. In the back corner of our parking lot, we have a playground surrounded by trees and a hillside. Now that it's springtime, our property needed a good spring cleaning. So on Friday morning, a group of about 50 volunteers from our preschool, church, Duquesne Light, and Davey Trees arrived to get our property ready for spring.
We cleaned up overgrown flower beds.
We removed the overgrown tree branches hanging over our playground.
We planted trees and bushes.
And we planted flowers.
This is probably my favorite picture from Arbor Day. Lily and her mom planted Easter Lilies around the cross in front of our church.
While I may not have learned about gardening in seminary, I did learn about community partnerships. And Mt. Nebo Arbor Day would not have been possible had we not partnered with Duquesne Light. My head preschool teacher, Miss Beth, and Fred from Duquesne Light, really went above and beyond to make this day a success. All of the things we planted were donated. Our preschool kiddos got to learn about gardening, and helped to plant trees that will grow as they do. My older congregants got to come to church on Sunday morning and see signs of new life in their church.
I really love the intergenerational nature of community partnerships. I serve a church with many elderly congregants. They know that the flowerbeds need weeding, but physically cannot weed anymore. I also serve a church with a vibrant preschool. Our preschool children have a lot of energy, but need a lot of instruction to channel that energy. Going forward, I think an important ministry of the church is to provide opportunities for intergenerational engagement. Where the young can use their energy for something larger than themselves. Where the old can share their wisdom with the next generation.