‘I was hungry and you gave me food’ Seattle-area Food Bank Farm helps feed the hungry, physically and spiritually Rector Smithfield, NC Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Editor’s note: This is the latest in a continuing series about Episcopal Church congregations that are involved in community agriculture. Other stories in the series can be found here.[Episcopal News Service – Snohomish, Washington] Take a priest who was a Wisconsin dairy farm boy, instill in him a longing for the fields, place him in one of the most fertile valleys in the Northwest, surround him with Episcopalians and others called to serve their communities, and the yield is more than a million servings of winter squash.The farmer-priest is the Rev. Jim Eichner, also the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Redmond, Washington, a wealthy nexus for technology companies, including Microsoft. The farm is the Food Bank Farm, sponsored by Holy Cross. Food Lifeline, based in nearby Seattle, is the recipient and distributes the produce to its 275 members that run feeding programs.Eichner and the parish began the farm in 2011 with 12 volunteers, on land in the Snohomish River Valley at Chinook Farms. The 132-acre community-supported swath of land on which niche farmers lease growing ground is owned by Eric Fritch, senior warden at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Snohomish. Eichner and the volunteers took out 3,750 pounds of food from their plot that first year.Diocese of Olympia Bishop Greg Rickel, left, and Eric Fritch, owner of Chinook Farms, plant squash starts. Photo: Episcopal Church of the Holy CrossIn 2015, with close to 1,000 volunteers, the Food Bank Farm produced 137,276 pounds of produce, estimated to amount to 549,104 servings with a value of $205,914. The goal for this year’s harvest is 200,000 pounds. The squash, while not certified organic, is grown without any chemicals.“This does not cost a lot of money,” Eichner said. “This whole program is going to cost us $8,000 this year.”“I don’t pay anybody anything,” he said with a sheepish grin.The operation rents 9 acres from Chinook in what Eichner calls a “sweetheart deal.” Down the road from Chinook, Eichner and the volunteers work another 3 acres that belong to a landowner who had planned to farm his 75 acres until the 2015 floods wiped out his winter cover crops and he was faced with replanting everything. Eichner proposed planting winter squash on some of the land.“This guy goes to church at the Foursquare Church and he gets what we’re doing,” he said. “So he becomes an ally and he says ‘I’ll let you use three acres this year for nothing.’ That was a huge gift.”The Rev. Jim Eichner, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Redmond, Washington, blesses a Food Bank Farm vehicle. Photo: Episcopal Church of the Holy CrossThen there’s the fellow who was once an altar boy at Holy Cross but no longer goes to church. He keeps all of the farm’s machinery running, including a 1953 Allis-Chalmers tractor. In exchange, he says, Eichner has to do his funeral.Those relationships are what Eichner likes to call the “bonus edges” of the work. And for many of those people, “this is their way to stay connected to the church.”Many of the volunteers are not churchgoers. A “vocal atheist” told Eichner recently that he really liked what the Food Bank Farm was doing. Eichner told him that he knew that was high praise coming from him.“Most people in that camp think the church is just ridiculous, absurd,” Eichner said. “There’s some people, whether they’re in the church or not, they look and say: ‘This is what the church ought to be doing.’ ”No matter their motivation, the volunteers are key to the farm’s growing success. Many work for businesses that want to demonstrate their corporate citizenship or offer team-building experiences for their employees. They connect to the farm through what Eichner calls the vectors of his parishioners. The same is true for civic and service organizations such as United Way and scout groups, as well as sports teams.Working at Food Bank Farm not only feeds the physically hungry in the Seattle area. Many volunteers are fed spiritually as well, Eichner said.“They love getting out of their urban cubicle and coming out to touch the ground again,” he said. “There’s something very primally sacred there.”“There’s good mojo out in this valley,” Eichner added, and it’s not just because repeated winter flooding has gradually made the soil as rich as the Nile Delta with nearly 12 feet of silt. Although, he added, “You can basically grow 10,000 pounds to the acre, without even trying, in this kind of land.”Fritch agreed, saying he sees God everywhere out in the valley. “We’re just the stewards,” he said. “It’s critical that people feel the physical connection to the earth as well as the spiritual world around us. I think they’re interconnected very deeply.“Agricultural references in the Bible are everywhere. Yes, it was an agrarian society, more so than our world today. Still, there’s that sense of the seasons and the different aspects of that natural life that’s very spiritual and biblical.”Calling himself a “practical Christian” who wants to see thing put into action, Fritch said Christians are called to act out in the world. “We can’t fix all of the problems through what we’re doing here but, I think people have a better sense of care for their environment and the world around them if they have a better connection with where their food comes from and how the world operates in this growing way that was designed by God.”Eichner said the Food Bank Farm’s motivation is Jesus’ call to feed the hungry in his name, a call that Jesus, in the Feeding of the Five Thousand, shows the apostles that they can answer. The call to feed the hungry became especially acute after the economy crashed in 2008, Eichner said, and the farm was a tangible way to respond. It’s been growing ever since.The Food Bank Farm is, in the words of Brian Sellers-Petersen, a good example of “different strokes, for different folks.”Church-community agriculture projects can range “from the large scale Food Bank Farm ministry of Holy Cross, Redmond, to Imago Dei Middle School in Tucson that has a concrete courtyard filled abundant produce growing in containers, horse troughs and vertical gardens to Trinity Wall Street‘s indoor hydroponic garden in their Sunday school to the Faith & Grace Garden at St. Timothy’s, West Des Moines,” said Sellers-Petersen, senior adviser to the president of Episcopal Relief & Development and a champion of church-community agriculture. “The Episcopal Church has it all when it comes to church agriculture”“The examples are seemingly endless and we can glean ideas, inspiration and help with just a little digging by using the Episcopal Church Asset Map,” said Sellers-Petersen, who is also the author of “Harvesting Abundance,” due out soon from Church Publishing, Inc.– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. Rector Washington, DC Church-Community Agriculture Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Rector Hopkinsville, KY Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Submit an Event Listing Featured Events Comments are closed. The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Featured Jobs & Calls In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Curate Diocese of Nebraska New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Rector Albany, NY Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Course Director Jerusalem, Israel This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Press Release Service Rector Collierville, TN Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY September 7, 2016 at 1:34 pm Good stuff. 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Northern Ireland Philanthropy Fortnight to take place in April (28 March 2013)Philanthropy Fortnigh programmed revealed (5 April 2017) Philanthropy Fortnight 2019, the annual celebration of giving in Northern Ireland, starts this week and runs until 26th May.The programmes of events which make up Philanthropy Fortnight is a partnership between the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (CFNI), the Belfast Charitable Society and Fermanagh Trust.Now in its seventh year, the organisations involved will share what motivates people and businesses to be generous, the wide range of causes supported by philanthropy and the tangible difference it makes to the local community.“Enormous things are also being achieved today through Philanthropy in NI, things which simply wouldn’t happen without the generosity and involvement of local people” said Siofra Healy, Director of Philanthropy at CFNI.“During philanthropy fortnight we want to celebrate the difference modern philanthropy is making by recognising the value of what is being achieved and highlighting the impact on local lives, she said.“Our hope is to encourage even more philanthropy, stimulate debate about what philanthropy means and highlight the joy of giving amongst the young and the old, individuals, families and businesses,” she added.Activity over the fortnight will include the launch of new funding opportunities, a celebration of giving by the Barbour Fund and Fermanagh will go global with the Fisher Foundation as they present 25 grants to local people working on 13 projects volunteering overseas.“Investing in our youth is a major passion for modern day philanthropists”, said Lauri McCusker, Director of Fermanagh Trust. Philanthropy Fortnight 2019 begins in N Ireland Howard Lake | 13 May 2019 | News AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis8 During the fortnight both Enniskillen Yacht Club Charitable Trust and the Fermanagh Recreational Trust will present awards to young people whilst in Derry. The Change Something Fund panel of young people will also make decisions about how funding should be spent in their city. Paula Reynolds, Chief Executive of Belfast Charity Society and chair of the NI Charitable Trust Group said past and present philanthropists have made a real difference in Northern Ireland and giving has always been hugely important here. As an example from history, Philanthropy Fortnight said Northern Ireland’s major hospital, the Royal Victoria, has its roots in philanthropy. Other activities throughout the fortnight will include the release of the charitable foundations impact report, a case study of corporate philanthropy from PWC and the launch of a new fund from the Pears Foundation. Tagged with: Northern Ireland philanthropy 165 total views, 1 views today 166 total views, 2 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis8 About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving.
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Facebook Twitter Google+ CLEMSON, S.C. — Asking Rakeem Christmas to do it all wasn’t fair and it didn’t work.He couldn’t defend the basket and the perimeter. He couldn’t work the post and drive the lane. Someone else had to at least score. But for the first 13 minutes of Syracuse’s game against Clemson on Saturday evening in Littlejohn Coliseum, though, no one else did.Trevor Cooney was getting shut out from the field. Michael Gbinije wouldn’t shine until press-and-foul time. Kaleb Joseph improved and Tyler Roberson snagged rebounds, but the bench was short and scoreless.When the final buzzer sounded, finalizing SU’s (13-5, 4-1 Atlantic Coast) 66-53 loss to Clemson (10-7, 2-3), Christmas had 21 points — which accounted for 40 percent of the Orange’s scoring — and 10 rebounds, and was the best player on a team that was left searching for more.“Mike and I have been there the last couple games and he had a decent game and I had a terrible game,” Cooney said. “And when that happens we’re not going to win.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAt halftime the Orange looked as beaten as it had all season. SU was trailing by 21, largely because it was leaving Clemson shooters open on the perimeter, not clutching the ball when they did miss and altogether leaving Christmas with too many messes to clean up.Thirteen minutes into the game, Christmas had nine points and the rest of the Orange had zero. The Tigers had 21.He had asserted himself from the opening whistle, winning the tip and going up over Jaron Blossomgame in the matchup’s first 20 seconds. When SU jogged off for halftime, Christmas had 11 points, but the Orange was getting beaten on the boards. The Tigers had pulled down almost as many offensive rebounds, seven, as the Orange had defensively, eight.“We stopped them in the first half three or four times in a row,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We did play good defense, stopped them, and they got four putbacks.”A Clemson team that averaged 30.6 first-half points per game going into Saturday’s matchup with the Orange had dropped 39 on the Orange.With 7:57 left in the first half, Joseph was scrambling back to his spot atop the left of SU’s 2-3 zone when Donte Grantham caught the ball at the opposite wing.Cooney stood in front of the CU forward, only to back away, leaving Grantham to fire the Tigers to a 21-9 lead.“Our movement was not there at all,” Cooney said.Neither Cooney nor SU’s next most-experienced player, Gbinije, was about to make up for it on offense. Cooney and Gbinije — who declined to speak to reporters after the game — combined to shoot 1-of-10 from the field in the first half and 4-of-19 for the game.Feeding Christmas was only so much of an option when he found himself surrounded by two or three players at every touch of the ball. Tyler Roberson relieved Christmas on the boards with 13 of his own rebounds, partly because Christmas was doubled up in box outs.The game wasn’t changing. Christmas had no margin for error. Still, at the slightest hint of an SU run, the traveling Syracuse fans rallied up chants of “Let’s Go Orange.”One round went up with about 13:30 left in the game. Joseph had cut CU’s lead to 44-28 on the Orange’s last possession. Christmas got the ball on the next one, only to be surrounded by three Clemson defenders and cough up his lone turnover of the game.Thirteen minutes later, SU had run out of ways to extend the game. Clemson, a middle-of-the-pack ACC team, was giving a former manager the fourth appearance of his career.“We’re going to need to find other ways to win games if guys aren’t making shots,” Joseph said. “We got to find it in our heart to dig out these games.” Comments Published on January 17, 2015 at 5:58 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_