Seaville United Methodist Church is going green! With the threat of climate change and the ever rising cost of nutritious food, the church has decided to take action.
In partnership with Boy Scouts of America, Troop 79 of Upper Township, the church now has a community garden which supplements the food pantry with fresh produce like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash.
Two Eagle Scouts have worked on the garden for their Eagle Scout projects. Steven and Dave Jefferson, along with many helping hands from Troop 79, have made this garden come to fruition. This year, improvements were made with raised beds, stone pathways and sprinkler heads. The church has a food pantry, which is open to the public each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. When the produce is ready to be harvested, volunteers from the church, along with the surrounding community, share in the responsibilities.
However, it is the children of the church who have taken the lead in caring for the garden.
“The kids are out there from the very beginning, working compost into the soil, planting and weeding,” said the Rev. Diane Pacione, pastor of Seaville United Methodist Church. “We are a church that is very passionate about the environment and we have planted that seed in our little ones. They understand the importance of caring for the earth and each other. We’re doing hands on ministry and we’re experiencing God in ways that this church never has before. It’s wonderful to see!”
The church is now offering alternative styles of worship in the form of “Eco Treks.” These are walks or hikes, usually along a body of water, where participants pick up trash.
“People always remember the Ten Commandments from the Bible,” said Rev. Pacione, “but what is often forgotten are the very first commandments from God, given to us from the book of Genesis. Humans were made in the image of God, with specific instructions to care for all of creation. And somehow, that gets lost. For too long we have treated the earth disrespectfully, taking everything it has to offer without thinking of the repercussions. It is time for the church to remind people of the commandment to be stewards of the land that we were given.”
The church is also planning its Vacation Bible School with the theme of creation and sustainability in mind. The kids will help with the garden, have visits from animals and learn songs and a short skit related to creation. “We’re already known as the church with the pond and gazebo,” said Rev. Pacione. “We’re simply expanding upon that to include more of creation in our ministry.”
The next Eco Trek is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, July 13. The community is invited to join and participants will meet at the intersection of Butter Road and Route 9 in Palermo. Vacation Bible School is scheduled for Aug. 5-9 from 9 a.m. to noon daily.