By: Elise Ranck, Diocesan Creation Care Advocate
Some time ago, some very passionate and concerned parishioners in our Pauatahanui parish whānau started a group called “God’s Earth, Our Home” (GEOH) which met once a month to discuss a variety of environmental issues. The group eventually included younger generations, and started a garden project on the church grounds. It is a simple yet profound initiative, bringing children and adults together to worship the Creator through joint efforts to grow kai.
The parish is on a journey of intergenerational ministry of which GEOH is a key part. Some Sundays include mahi (work) in the garden and end with a shared lunch utilising the harvested vegetables.
Not only is Pauatahanui Parish challenging the traditional ways of gardening, they are also challenging the traditional ways of doing church. The garden space encourages conversation and sharing of knowledge and passions between unlikely folk: young and old. It is also a rare Pākehā expression of whānau where everyone can contribute and find a place of belonging. The Vicar, Rev Pete Watson, seeks to challenge traditional church culture by acknowledging the “holy shambles” (as he likes to say) of intergenerational ministry in attempts to normalise this expression of church whānau.
This is one of many parishes in our movement who are pursuing the call to care for the land, care for their neighbours, and care for the generations that are now and yet to come: Pauahatanui cares for God’s beloved creation.
My hope is to see more of this style of worship spring up around our movement. I am currently exploring how this might be possible through a new project to adapt existing creation care resources to fill a kete (kit) that can suit all generations and needs of each parish. The goal is to provide a variety of resources: tools, readings, activities, liturgy, stories, et cetera – for each parish to utilise, and be encouraged by their diocesan brothers and sisters who are taking action in their own contexts.
I’m still very much in the early learning stages of intergenerational ministry, but am eager to learn, particularly in a creation care context. Please get in touch if your parish is taking action within your congregation and/or wider community.
Please also get in touch if your parish is interested in taking action on creation care in your community and leaning into God’s Kingdom call to be stewards of this shared home.
You can email me on email@example.com.