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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!

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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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12 Baskets and a Goat

12 Baskets and a Goat ImageOn November 14, 2015, the old Sale Barn on Sunny Slope Farm was the site of the first pilot show of 12 Baskets and a Goal, a project of Ted & Co, Heifer International, and the Church of the Brethren in support of Heifer’s work around the world. The event featured the play, The Jesus Stories: Faith, Forks, and Fettuccine, written and performed by Ted Swartz and Jeff Raught, interrupted at two intervals to auction off home-made breads and cakes. It was an evening filled with humor, laughter, and generous support of Heifer International. Over $5,000 was raised during the evening with all proceeds going to Heifer International.

The 12 Baskets and a Goal project (http://www.tedandcompany.com/shows/12-baskets-and-a-goat/) “seeks to raise awareness of poverty and empower communities to restore dignity to those in need.The Jesus Stories “asks two questions….what are we having to eat and who are we eating it with? It’s a play about Jesus and food; about what we need every day to sustain us, nourish us, and connect us with God and with others.” The play, which features original songs and music by Jeff, blends humor and theological reflection. Over the next three years, Ted and Co hope to perform their play and auctions all over the country for the benefit of Heifer International.

Ted Swartz and Jeff Raught performing The Jesus Stories

Ted Swartz and Jeff Raught performing The Jesus Stories

First Church of the Brethren’s Friendship Class gave money to help cover startup costs for the event at Sunny Slope Farm. Members of the class also donated $1,000 in support of Heifer International. The youth donated jars of their recently made apple butter. Other members of the church donated cakes and breads. Many of the breads were auctioned off in baskets donated by Cathy Cupp, Linda Logan’s sister.

Beth and Harry Jarrett’s farm, Sunny Slope Farm, is a certified Virginia Century Farm, owned and operated by the family for 186 years.

Pastor Beth among the gathering crowd

Pastor Beth among the gathering crowd

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Weekend of Service Update!

T-Shirts are here. If you are able, please stop by the church today (Thursday 8/20) or tomorrow (Friday 8/21) and pick up your T-shirts. Contributions toward the cost of the T-shirts is voluntary. We suggest a donation of $8.00 per T-shirt for adults and $5.00 for children. There are extra T-Shirts in case you forgot to order one.

Service Projects – We need more individuals for the Brethren Woods project. The team will stain the deck of the new building at Brethren Woods. Depending on the size of the team and time, additional projects include wood cutting and splitting, pressure washing, cleaning, and tree trimming. Supplies for the project are provided. The Trailer Park project will not be held due to a lack of sign-ups. We are still in need of Lollipops, paint brushes, bottled water and a cooler on wheels.

Bike-A-Thon – Friday night from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Come support our bikers and donate to help Chloe Fuller, a young girl who has leukemia and who attended our Praize Kidz. Heidi still needs volunteers for the event as well as refreshments. Plan to stay afterwards to fellowship around our camp fire.

Camping tents and equipment can be set up any time during the afternoon of Friday, August 21.

Wear your T-Shirt! And arrive at the church by 8:30 a.m. on Saturday for prayer and commissioning, and to join your project teams. Bring a bag lunch, wear appropriate clothing, a hat, and sun screen.

Consider sharing the event with friends by logging on to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the Hashtag #LoveServeRepeat or follow us Harrisonburg First COB. There will be persons available Friday night to help you set up your smartphones if this is new for you! So don’t let that be your excuse! What a great way to share our faith.

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Weekend of Service

Service – Fun – Fellowship

August 21-22, 2015

456-community-service-pictureReady to put your faith to work? First Church is planning a Weekend of Service where individuals can experience a community service project for the first time. The projects are designed to be short and simple, and get us out into the community to meet our neighbors.

The projects include painting a fence for the New Community Project, handing out water bottles, visiting a nursing home, and assembling disaster and school kits. The complete list of projects, lists of items needed to be donated, and sign-up sheets will be available in late July.

Friday night, August 21, we’ll kick-off the weekend with a Bike-A-Thon followed by a prayer service. On Saturday morning, there will be a short prayer service before heading out to morning, afternoon, or all-day projects. That evening we’ll enjoy a cook-out at the church following by swimming at the local pool.

For the truly adventurous, camping will be available at the church on a “bring your own tent and equipment” basis. You can share your plans and experiences with other participants, and enjoy fellowship and S’mores around the camp fire pit.

If you are interested in volunteering your services in preparation for the weekend, contact a member of the coordinating committee: Auburn and Ruth Boyers, Heidi Bunn, Beth Cash, Julie Foster, Brenda Fox, Sharon Helbert, Beth Jarrett, Micah Morris, Karen Moyers, Heather Smith, Peggy Stickley, and Derek Young.

Check this site later on in July for full details about the weekend. In the meantime save the dates of August 21 and 22 on your calendars.

 

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New Sermon Series Beginning July 19th, 2015

Be the Gospel

There is no doubt that the most famous teachings of Jesus are found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. One of the reasons for this is because we all care about authenticity. In a world that is inundated with information and technology, it has never been more important for the church to be authentic by living out the gospel in very practical ways. The old saying, “Actions speak louder than words” should become the Church’s new mantra. For the next six weeks, we will be exploring the Gospel of Matthew and looking at what it means to be the Good News and how it differs from simply believing the Good News. We will also have the opportunity to engage in community service and share our stories. Get ready for interactive worship times and regular engagement with the community! If you are new to our area, this is a great starting point. Come and join us!

Service themes:

Sunday July 19th – “To be or not to be” – Matthew 5:13-16

Sunday July 26th – “A peculiar people” – Matthew 5:1-13

Sunday August 2nd – “The gospel little word is love” – Matthew 5:43-48

Sunday August 9th – “The bottom line” – Matthew 19:16-30

Sunday August 16th – “What we did and didn’t do” – Matthew 25:31-46

Sunday August 23rd – Weekend of Service Celebration! – Sharing stories of our weekend of service in our community at the picnic shelter.