It's such a small thing...this planting we do every June. We go to Seeds of Peace International summer camp. We take annuals and perennials. We dig in the dirt. We eat some lunch in the dining hall. We talk with directors and leaders of the camp who are already making ready.
There is a small apple tree in the memory garden. It doesn't look too healthy, but our apple farmer Art, checks it out and prunes it just a little in hopes that someday...it will bear fruit for this camp of young people who come from all over the world to learn how to be peacemakers in their home communities.
We learned about Seeds of Peace from our pastor, Diane. Before she came to North Parish she served a church in Oak Park IL. Her youth group wanted to visit this state of Maine and so Diane made the first trip with 60 Senior Highs who painted cabins, listened to former director Tim, raked the baseball field and fell in love with a camp that worked to change the world.
When Diane came to North Parish some of us wanted to serve with a hands on mission. We didn't want to travel far from home, but we wanted to do something meaningful and lasting. So Diane suggested we talk to Lesley Lewin, the current director of Seeds of Peace. Lesley asked us if we would consider coming for a day to clean out neglected gardens and replant them...tend them so they offered a beautiful Maine welcome to campers coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Israel, Palestine...for young people from Maine, some of them refugees from Somalia others born in Maine. We answered, "yes! of course! we are gardeners at North Parish!" So now, 10 years later...we continue to tend the garden surrounded by the flags of the many countries represented by campers. We weed and sort the plants in the memory garden. One year we surrounded that garden with rocks we blessed in worship.
And almost every year, we find a birds nest with tiny eggs incubating in the almost summer sun.
Seeds of Peace...it's what we do...it's who we are...at North Parish.