The Presbytery of Milwaukee congregations have reaped a harvest of cooperation
March 9, 2022
As congregations join this week with the Presbyterian Hunger Program to celebrate Food Week of Action, the five Wisconsin churches are living into their Matthew 25 calling to feed the hungry. This summer they built a community garden and now are harvesting the produce, distributing it to people who are experiencing hunger.
Food for the Journey is a project of Apostle Presbyterian Church in West Allis, Calvary Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee, Delafield Presbyterian Church in Delafield, Jerusalem Presbyterian Church in Wales and Kettle Moraine Presbyterian Church in Hartland.
Each church had something to share. “Food for the Journey started out as a project that none of our congregations could have pulled off on their own,” said the Rev. Nikki Blanks, pastor at Delafield. “The beauty of this is that either we were going to work collaboratively, or we weren’t going to be able to do it all.
“With each other,” Blanks said, “we have everything we need.”
The Kettle Moraine church had excess land, perfect for the 40-foot-by-24-foot raised-bed garden built for the project, and the Delafield church contributed financially. Several churches, especially the Jerusalem church, brought Master Gardeners into the planning. The Calvary and Apostle churches act as distribution sites, sharing the bounty with urban residents of Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. Volunteers from all churches help with the garden.
It’s been transformative. At the Delafield church, “One hundred percent of our newest members are involved in this garden; they see what the Spirit is doing, and they want in on it,” Blanks said.
JP Kastner, a lead organizer, sees the same at his church. “Folks are stepping up into leadership positions because they’re interested in involvement with the produce marketplace at Calvary,” Kastner said.
To the surprise of many participants, the collaboration has gone beyond the project.
When the Kettle Moraine church had a problem with its church sign, a church member from the Calvary church came out to fix it. The Delafield church collected books for Jerusalem’s Book Drive, and Jerusalem contributed to Delafield’s rummage sale.
In these newfound relationships, Blanks says, “the people have had so much fun, there’s talk of building more gardens next year.”
Presbytery of Milwaukee, Special to Presbyterian News Service
Today’s Focus: Matthew 25 congregations – feeding the hungry
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Gracious God, you call us to be Christ incarnate. We are to be the compassionate heart and hands of Christ. We are the loaves and the fish that will give hope and life during these challenging times. Amen.