Feeding Body and Soul through a Garden Ministry
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An award-winning video produced by Advent Lutheran Church, Madison, Wisconsin, reminds us that planting seeds together can be a remarkable act of discipleship.
Advent showcased its garden ministry in a video it submitted for the 2009 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) video contest, winning a high-definition video camera as runner up in the congregational category.
The collaborative project of the Rev. Jeff Wild and several members of Advent interpreted the video contest theme — “God’s work. Our hands.” — by focusing on the hands of a wide range of members, including children, adults and seniors.
These hands planted and gathered fruits, vegetables and flowers grown on the congregation’s nearly quarter-acre garden.
The video also included the voices of children from Advent and a nearby community center singing an original piece written especially for the garden ministry.
The contest theme is the tagline for the ELCA.
"Once we had that theme and guiding creative idea, making and editing the video was really easy,” said Amy Floan, videographer and member of Advent.
The video also tied in the passage, “When I was hungry you fed me,” and featured members sharing fresh produce with others.
“I was really proud, not only of the video, but of the ministry we are doing,” Floan said. “The video shows how having a garden ministry is possible and a pretty easy thing other churches can do.”
“The contest was such a 21st-century thing the ELCA did,” Floan added. “It was a modern way of getting people excited about the work of this church.”
Congregations and individuals submitted 224 videos for the contest, the first of its kind in the ELCA. “I am thankful so many people participated,” said Scott Hendrickson, director for marketing, public relations and creative services, ELCA Communication Services. He added that it gave him a “great sense of pride” to be a part of the video contest.
Of the video, Pastor Wild said, “It was a great pleasure to share this ministry with others.” He said the congregation has yet to decide how it will use the prize.
Pastor Wild says he hopes the idea of congregational gardening catches on. “It’s not just about the vegetables,” he said. “It’s also about nurturing faith and fostering relationships. Those faith connections are abundant through gardening.”