MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (4/9/13) – Much like many miracles, God's Little Acre started small and grew...and grew.
The garden ministry, located next to Second Baptist Church on Depot Street in Greenville, has a simple mission statement, according to its Facebook page. "To feed, encourage, and instill hope to those in need, while bridging the generation gap."
Dr. Ray England, Pastor of the church, explained that last year he "was looking for a project that church members could take on, particularly one that would appeal to young adults."
The same day that this was on his mind, Adam Bryant, a Greenville native, suggested to the pastor that "our church should start a garden ministry. Later that evening," England continued stating, "A lady in the church called me and said 'I think we need to start a garden.' This all happened on the same day. Two people who had not talked to each other. This confirmed to me that this was what we should do. We started with a half-acre, pretty much from nothing and now we have something wonderful."
Mr. Bryant, a very active part of the Gods Little Acre ministry, talked in wonder of how the garden produced nearly 6000 pounds of produce last year in a time of record drought.
"It was an education last year. We learned how to do things, and how not to do things. We give the food indirectly through food banks, and we've also delivered food in person." Bryant said.
Dr. England stressed that the garden has had help and participation from members of other churches, various denominations, and individuals from throughout the area.
"It's something for the community, not just for our church. We try to witness through it and share the gospel. We try to encourage people to go to their church. If they don't have a church we welcome them to come to ours." England explained.
"Primarily, younger adults do a large part of the work as far as our food ministry, which is separate from the garden. We take food out to seniors three times a week throughout the school year. Preparation of the food from the garden takes a large amount of our volunteers' time. Also, during summer we take food to several hundred school age children two days a week." Dr. England continued.
Both men stressed that there are many other church members who have put much work into the garden, "but if we start mentioning names I'm sure we'll leave someone out." Dr. England said.
Seed donations have poured to get this year's crop going. But Bryant stressed that monetary donations for things like gas for the garden tractor are always needed.
"I just filled the tractor up today, and it took over forty dollars. That gas will be gone by the time I finish plowing this afternoon." Bryant said.
Bryant added that his employer, Kimberly-Clark, has helped out in this area. "They have a community's partner program. If I donate thirty hours of my time they'll donate $500 to the project."
Dr. Roberts added, "We have been so blessed. Other than the cost of watering the garden, the church has really been out no funds. It's a cup of cold water is Jesus' name. Except instead of cold water it's a watermelon or cantaloupe." he said with a smile.
Bryant said the goal this year "is to double what we grew last year. So instead of planting okra, which some people can't eat. And it has to be picked daily. This year we'll replace that area with potatoes. Instead of 36 pounds of okra, we could grow a couple of hundred pounds of potatoes."
One thing God's Little Acre can always use more of is volunteers to help. "The more help we can get the better," Bryant said.
Dr. England emphasized that "the garden ministry is a ministry from Second Baptist Church, not a ministry of Second Baptist Church. We got the ball rolling, but we see it as God's ministry."
Shara Sumner, whose Sunday school class has been a very active part of the garden ministry, said the garden helps in two ways.
"It meets the need to provide fresh, nutritious food. And also to spread the Gospel as well. We hope to increases our partnership with other churches to deliver food, and to help meet needs that they may of, that we don't know about." Sumner said.
To find out how you can help, call the Second Baptist Church at 270-338-6161.
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