Harvesting Abundance

Local Initiatives of Food and Faith

Brian Sellers-Petersen

May/2017, 160 Pages, Paperback, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819233097



Engaging stories with photos in local communities and neighborhoods showing the church in action.

Many congregations, schools, and organizations are reaching out into their neighborhoods to share God’s story of abundance by establishing community gardens, beehive colonies, and other agricultural initiatives. They are creatively using their land and property; providing training, inspiration, and cross-cultural experiences for all ages; while at the same time feeding the hungry and building community relationships. Too often food banks only take non-perishables loaded with preservatives and sodium. Church entities involved in agricultural ministries are able to provide healthy food from their gardens to feeding programs, food pantries, and others in need. This book tells the tale of 25 such communities in story and image. An inspiration for others to develop such projects, food and faith can go hand-in-hand as we get our hands dirty while learning more about what Genesis 2 describes as God “planted” a garden. Gardening can be seen on the rooftop of a church in the city, beehives in the midst of a seminary, or a local community garden alongside the church’s parking lot. Discover where this movement is alive and growing, and find ideas for starting your own “food and faith” initiative in your own backyard, roof, or front porch.

Brian Sellers-Petersen, co-founder of the Episcopal Food, Farming, and Faith Network, is an avid gardener at home and office (St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle) and a consultant to Seattle Tilth Food and Faith Initiative. He has worked with Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) for the past 15 years in a variety of capacities, including as the creator/developer of Episcopal Relief & Development's Abundant Life Garden Project curriculum, a leader of pilgrimages to sustainable agriculture programs in Ghana and Central America, senior advisor to the president of ERD, former Director of Church Engagement, and former Western Regional Director. He is on the advisory council of the Beecken Center at Sewanee, and previously worked for World Vision and with Bread for World. In addition, he has worked with All Saints Pasadena; the Anglican Diocese of Port Elizabeth, South Africa; and the Student Christian Movement of South Africa. He currently lives in Covington, Washington.

"Here is a book of concrete hope--stories of dirt you can dig your toes into, harvests you can eat, communities you can join. If you need good news (and we all do) then follow Brian Sellers-Petersen into the church yards and once empty lots, seminary campuses and charitable farms where new life is springing up in abundance." ––Ragan Sutterfield, author of Wendell Berry and the Given Life

"Brian brings over 30 years of experience, faithfulness, and insights to this inspiring exploration of how we, as Christians and as The Episcopal Church, are called to use God's abundance. He connects the global to the local and the spiritual to the temporal with his lively wit and characteristic warmth." ––Robert W. Radtke, President, Episcopal Relief Development

"Sellers-Petersen whets our appetite for food, beauty, and justice, and presents a cornucopia of incarnate examples. This is a great opportunity to pray that ancient collect 'read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest...' in a new context, in the fertile scripture of creation: read and grow, read and eat, read and share, and know that the earth in which we all have our origins is the stuff of divine creativity and abundant life." ––Katharine Jefferts Schori, 26th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church

"Sellers-Petersen plants fruitful seeds through this collection of stories, showing us how the garden teaches the importance of good work and of Sabbath rest, the healing power of forgiveness, and the blessing of new life. Using tools of collaboration, creativity, and education, these communities care for God's creation, practice hospitality, and address food insecurity. The gardener in all of us will connect to 'the miracle of being able to plant a seed and watch it grow.' (p. 64) Inspiring!" ––Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan, The Episcopal Church in Connecticut

"Harvesting Abundance contains great gifts for the church. Brian Sellers-Petersen has compiled information previously unavailable anywhere: stories and images from many Episcopal agrarian ministries spanning desert, country, and city. He has provided inspiration to people and parishes who are curious yet cautious. By sharing stories of these vibrant ministries, he has also shown us a path of innovation, connecting altar to dinner table and the stories of Scripture to our own stories today. The church needs information, inspiration, and innovation true to our witness for Christ. Harvesting Abundance delivers all three, abundantly." ––Nurya Love Parish, co-founder and Executive Director of Plainsong Farm Ministry

"Filled with inspirational stories of communities finding mission and ministry in their yards. Brian Sellers-Petersen will inspire you to action in this readable harvest of his years of journeying with and encouraging Episcopalians to love the earth they stand on and in the process transform their communities." ––Winnie Varghese, Priest and Director of Justice and Reconciliation, Trinity Wall Street

"While Harvesting Abundance would be of benefit to the clergy in the church, the same could be said for the laity, and of lay leadership in particular. For vestries who are dreaming what new possibilities they could be called to in one, two, or five, years down the road, Sellers-Petersen's book exhibits possibilities and provides follow-up resources." —Andrew C. Sloan, Anglican Theological Review

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