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The Community Garden Project During Weekend of Service

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L to R: Sharon Helbert, Beth Burtner, George Toscano, and Julie Foster

There were six of us folks who participated in the Community Garden Service Project on our church grounds—Julie Foster, Beth Burtner, Brenda Fox, Sharon Helbert, Tish Moore, and George Toscano. We spent the first part of the morning on Saturday, August 13, 2016, putting a 3-foot wide border of cardboard layered with mulch around the garden, giving the garden and the plants a protective barrier. We only got 2/3rds of the way around the garden, but we were proud to get this much accomplished given the heat and humidity that day. The church’s garden group hopes to finish the project in the near future when the summer heat isn’t such a factor.

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Sharon Helbert selecting cardboard to place around the border of the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

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View of First Church’s community garden.

Our garden is a cooperative effort with the New Community Project (NCP). Currently, we have corn growing. The garden is not meant to be a typical garden laid out in neat rows and weed free. Rather it was created in a U-shape which allows it to take advantage of natural drainage. It also is not meant to be plowed but consist of a series of mounds.

Our community garden is a work in progress. So far we have only grown drought resistant plants. Things we still need to do are to get a water source hooked up, and to educate ourselves in order to implement NCP’s garden philosophy and methods. Additionally, we need individuals who can commit their personal time and some financial resources to expanding and maintaining our garden.

We followed up our work in the garden with a tour of the Vine & Fig, which is the community established by NCP along North Main Street in Harrisonburg. You have probably passed by their “White House” with the painted columns on the left side of the street just Washington Street.

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L to R: Julie Foster, Tish Moore, Tom Benevento (our tour guide at NCP), and a pastor from a Pennsylvania COB.

The goals of NCP are to practice peace, justice, and ecology. They transformed a neglected part of the city where there had been two crack houses and instead created living spaces for homeless individuals, individuals who have been in recovery for at least 6 months, immigrant families, and interns. In between the dwellings are gardens and energy conservation experiments. Products from the NCP gardens at this location and in the surrounding area are used in local restaurants as well as to feed the NCP community. In sum, NCP exists so we can learn to live simply in order to protect the earth’s resources, help individuals who have been at the margins of society, and promote peace and justice.

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The greenhouse with a fish pond.

NCP seeks to maximize the output they get from their living spaces and gardens. For example, a greenhouse was dug and built several feet underground in order to take advantage of the earth’s heat. NCP uses the greenhouse to grow food in the winter. They also dug a pond in the greenhouse to use to grow tilapia fish. The pond is under the planting slats, and water from the pond containing rich nutrients from fish excrement is used to fertilize the plants. The plastic covering the greenhouse reflects heat which warms the fig trees grown alongside it that need a warmer temperature. The fig trees, in turn, shade the greenhouse.

NCP works with outside individuals interested in preserving our environment and food resources, and has cooperative arrangements with a number of colleges such as Juniata College and Laverne College. On the day of our tour, a Laverne college intern was spending his last day at NCP and a group from a Brethren church in Pennsylvania was working in the gardens. We also observed a moment of silence when a bell tolled calling us to pause to slow down, enter a time of quiet, and enjoy the natural world around us.

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L to R: Julie Foster and Tish Moore checking WoS Facebook posts while at The Little Grill.

At the end of our Community Garden Service Project, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Little Grill, a worker owned coop and café. The Little Grill supports farm to table practices and uses local ingredients as much as possible.

A big thank you from the garden group to Julie Foster who planned a very enjoyable day for us!IMG_20160813_115747152_HDR

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2016 Weekend of Service Schedule

2016 WEEKEND OF SERVICE SCHEDULE

August 12, 2016         Day of Service Kick-off (participants are to eat at home before coming to the church)

  • 8:00 – Family Movie Night – a recently popular film with your favorite zoo animals (popcorn & drinks served beforehand)
  • Camp Fire & S’Mores

Kids at Movie

August 13, 2016         Day of Service

  • 8:00 a.m. –Breakfast (Bagels & Coffee)
  • 8:30 a.m. – Pray & Commissioning
  • Morning Service Projects – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
  • Lunch (on your own)
  • Afternoon Service Projects – 1:00 p.m. to 5: 00 p.m.
  • Cook-out Dinner at Church – 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Free Swimming – 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

August 14, 2016         Church Service with Day of Service Celebration and Story Telling

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Weekend of Services Signups Start July 24!

Sign Me Up!

Sign Me Up!

Weekend of Service Signups begin Sunday, July 24 for projects that will be held on Saturday, August 13. Signup sheets are located in the narthex along with donation boxes to provide the teams with the supplies they will need, if any.

Weekend of Service Projects

(1) School Kits – 8/13 – 9:00 am till done – Ruth & Auburn Boyers Assemble 100 school kits in church Fellowship Hall for delivery to the Shenandoah District Office School Kits

1 pair rounded tip blunt metal scissors

3 70-count spiral notebooks or notebooks totaling 200-210 pages

1 30-centimeter ruler (12 ʺ)

1 hand-held pencil sharpener

1 box 24 (only) crayons

1 large eraser

6 new pencils with erasers

1 12ʺ x14ʺ to 14ʺ x17ʺ cotton or lightweight canvas bag with cloth handles

NO LOOSE-LEAF OR FILLER PAPER

(2) New Community Project (NCP) Garden on Church Grounds – 8/13 – 9:00 am through lunch – Julie Foster and NCP Representative The group will be working to create a weed-free barrier or edge approximately 3-feet wide around the entire garden with wood chips. If the group completes the barrier, they will put in fall flowers on the edge facing the road. The group will work until10:45 am. Then, the group will go to Vine and Fig to get a tour and informational session regarding projects located at the NCP white house on North Main/Liberty Street. After that, the group will go to The Little Grill Co-op for lunch. Individuals will then have the opportunity to join other Weekend of Service projects after lunch. Flat cardboard – large pieces (broken down boxes, etc.)
(3) Grocery Bag Distribution & Collection for Blue Ridge Area Food Bank – 8/13 – All day – Derek Young & Micah Morris Youth and advisors, and interested adults, will distribute bags in the community on both 8/3 and 8/10. They will collect the bags and deliver the food to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank on 8/13. Cereal

Peanut or Almond Butter

Canned Tuna and Chicken

Canned Soups, Stews and Chili

Canned Fruit

Canned Veggies

Beans, Canned or Dried

Boxed Mac & Cheese

Pasta and Rice

Spaghetti Sauce

Paper Products

Baby Food, Formula, and Diapers

Soap, Toothbrushes, and Feminine Products

(4a) Park Trash Pick-up and Bottled Water Distribution – 8/13 – All Day – Heather Smith & Sandy Kinsey

(4b) 2:00 p.m. – Bingo with Bridgewater Assisted Living Residents (2nd Floor Activities Room)

Children and interested adults will clean up Westover Park behind the church. Afterwards they will distribute bottled water to individuals in this and possibly another park. They will conclude the day with a visit to Bridgewater Retirement Community to play a game of Bingo with the residents. Bring a hat & wear sunscreen Large Trash Bags

Small Surgical Type Plastic Gloves

Bottled Water

(5) Hospital & Firehouse Visits – 8/13 – All Day – Carol Stickley & Cathy Grogg Visit the local hospital, fire stations, and emergency squads, and distribute candy with notes attached thanking the staff for their service to the community Lollipops

Ribbon

(6) Camp Brethren Woods – 8/13 – All Day – Camp Representative Work at Camp Brethren Woods staining wood railings and decks if time permits. The camp was so happy with the work that we did to last year that they would like us to help them again with staining Supplies to be provided by the Camp
(7) Salvation Army – 8/13 – All Day – Emily Morris Dust and steam clean/ vacuum the men’s area of the Shelter. Also clean windows. The Shelter provides cleaning supplies, but appreciates donations. Items that you might want to bring are cleaning supplies, plastic work gloves, and cleaning rags

We will use the same T-Shirts as last year. If you want to order one, there is a signup sheet for this as well. Payment for these is on a donations basis (write a check to the church with WoS T-Shirts in the memo line).

We are collecting Food for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, and New or Gently Used Paperbacks for the Middle River Regional Jail’s Library.

The Weekend will start off with entertainment on Friday evening (planning still in the works). There will be a simple breakfast available on Saturday morning (bagels and coffee) prior to our prayer/commissioning service which will begin at 8:30 a.m. Then we will break into teams and head out at for the service projects. Upon returning to the church, a cook-out will be served followed by free swimming from 7:00-8:00 p.m. at the Cecil F. Gilkerson Community Center pool just behind the church.

Camping. Interested individuals and families can pitch their tents or bring their campers and park them on church grounds both Friday and Saturday nights. All are welcome to the camp fires and S’mores where sharing of the days’ events and fellowship will be enjoyed. Please just indicate on the project signup sheets whether you plan to camp either or both nights.

On Sunday, August 14 during the church service, the project teams will share their experiences and reflections on our 2016 Weekend of Service. So come to our Weekend with your smart phones, cameras, enthusiasm, families and friends. And follow us at #loveserverepeat, Harrisonburgfirstcob.org, and https://www.facebook.com/fcobharrisonburg/.

Follow us!

Follow us!

Aaron (L) and Derek (R) Loading Raft

July 10, 2916 Adult Raft Float Trip

Here are photographs of the raft float trip taken by adult members of First Church and their friends on the afternoon of July 10, 2016. The trip was led by Derek Young, our Coordinator of Adult and Youth Ministries. Derek is also president of Outdoor Adventure Experiences Inc. (http://www.outdooradventureexperiences.com/), which has been providing adventure programs and trips in the Shenandoah Valley for over 25 years. In addition to the children, youth, and adults of First Church, Derek has worked with public recreation departments, scouting programs, special needs groups, private and public schools, and individuals. Derek’s philosophy is that the best way to protect and care for our natural resources is by inspiring individuals during an adventurous recreational experience. Derek was assisted on this trip by Aaron Garber (a former member of our youth group) and Emily (a Bridgewater College student). Thank you Derek, Aaron, and Emily for a great summer afternoon!

Sharon Helbert and Friends

Sharon Helbert and Friends

LtoR: Derek Young, Don Brown, Joyce Leake, Libby Smith, David Shaffer, & Brenda Fox

LtoR: Derek Young, George Toscano, Don Brown, Joyce Leake, Libby Smith, David Shaffer, & Brenda Fox

LtoR: Tom, Brenda, & Blair McGloon

LtoR: Tom, Brenda, & Blair McGloon

LtoR: Don Brown, Sharon Helbert, Joyce Leake, & Brenda Fox

LtoR: Don Brown, Sharon Helbert, Joyce Leake, & Brenda Fox

Aaron (L) and Derek (R) Loading Raft

Aaron (L) and Derek (R) Loading Raft

Beth Burtner

Beth Burtner

Emily

Emily

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Weekend of Service – August 12-14, 2016

Kids Group 2

Our Weekend of Service (WoS) is about a month away and will take place August 12-14, 2016. The Weekend will kick-off on Friday evening and will be followed by half or full-day service projects on Saturday, ending with a cookout and swim time at the community center behind First Church. During Sunday’s service we will hear reports from the different project teams.

During our contacts with different agencies, Middle River Regional Jail indicated that they would like to receive either new or used (in good condition) paperbacks for their library. They are interested in a wide range of reading materials – fiction and non-fiction, auto and biographical, history, and westerns (a particular favorite). If you have books that you would like to donate, please place them in the appropriate box in the narthex.

Meanwhile the Harrisonburg City Jail said that they would like copies of paperback bibles. If you would like to donate toward the purchase of bibles, please write a check to the church and in the memo line indicate “City Jail Bibles”.

In the next few weeks be looking for project descriptions and sign-up sheets, donation boxes in the narthex for needed supplies, and further details in upcoming bulletins, on this webpage and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fcobharrisonburg/.

Hospital Visitation Group 3

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Cave Quest VBS Set for July 18-22

The Annual First Church of the Brethren VBS is set for July 18-22.  The title of VBS for 2016 is “Cave Quest”.  Participants will learn about following the light of Jesus.  To register go to the VBS page at https://www.groupvbspro.com/vbs/ez/hburgfirstcob

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For such a time as this…

Over the next five weeks, we will take a look at the book of Esther.  If you haven’t read Esther, I’d encourage you to read it! It reads like a thriller or even a romance novel. And yet, we can learn much about what it means to live a life committed to God and to one another as the body of Christ during difficult times. Do you ever feel like your swimming upstream? That the choices you make and your commitment to faith seems so foreign to others that you find it difficult to stay the course? Perhaps you feel discouraged and insignificant or unable to change things anyway? These are some of the very things that we read about in the book of Esther.

As part of our study, we will look at the different characters in the story and the choices that each of them make in their own times; some in faithfulness to God and some quite faithless at all. we’ll be challenged to reevaluate our own choices. We will be reminded that each of us have been given gifts and passions for God to use to effect change and bring about justice in our own communities. Together, we’ll ask ourselves the famous question Mordecai asked Esther:”Who knows if you have not become royal for such a time as this?”

Join us for worship Sundays at 10:30!

Pastor Beth

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FCOB Awarded Second Place for 2015 Salvation Army Bell Ringing

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First Church of the Brethren was awarded 2nd Place for the 2015 Salvation Army Bellringer Award among local churches.  The award was presented to FCOB at the annual Salvation Army Volunteer Appreciation Dinner that was held at Eastern Mennonite University on Monday, May 2.

First Church has been active in the Red Kettle Campaign for years, but since 1998, the FCOB Youth Program has spearheaded the church’s volunteer efforts.  During the six days of ringing, which included over 50 hours and dozens of volunteers, outside of Wal-Mart on Route 42 South of Harrisonburg, $2,870 was raised for The Salvation Army.

In addition to the Bell Ringing, FCOB also prepares and serves weekly meals at The Salvation Army Shelter in Harrisonburg, a program that was started eight years ago.

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Pork Tenderloin Dinner To Benefit Mercy Children’s Home in Nepal is This Friday, April 29

This Friday, April 29, Harrisonburg First Church of the Brethren will be hosting a Pork Tenderloin Dinner from 4:00pm-8:00pm in the Church Multi-Purpose Area.  Proceeds from the meal will benefit the Mercy Children’s Home in Kathmandu, Nepal.  Members of First Church visited Mercy Children’s Home during a mission trip to Nepal in 2012.  

The menu for the dinner includes: Pork Tenderloin, Macaroni & Cheese, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Salad, Rolls and Assorted Desserts.

Cost:  Adults $10 Kids (6-11) $5, Kids (Under 6) Free.

For more information contact the church office at (540)434-8288.

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