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Faith and Farming

Leah (left) and Candice at the Sorrento Chapel. Photo: Sheilagh McGlynn

July 9, 2015

By Peter Goodwin

By Peter Goodwin, PWRDF Diocesan Rep from New Westminster

Today’s focus was on the role faith plays in the lives of those engaged in farming in Canada.

Candace Aitkens, a long term resident of Entry Island in the Magdalene Islands, explained how the traditional life style with self sufficient food production and related employment has been lost along with the sense of a caring community and replaced with one of competition and self centeredness. Food is no longer locally produced and is less healthy.

While the school has closed and full time residents number only 62, Candace has inspired those of her parish, All Saints, to take on the task of helping to restore a sense of a caring community by regaining a sense of local food sovereignty. The land around the church is being converted into a farm, ‘creating space for the community to come together and reconnect again’. Gardens were started last summer, bees added this year, and sheep will be added next year. Families and individuals are encouraged to contribute to and work in the garden learning from one another while taking needed produce. One young person in the community noted it was more fun working in the garden than playing X-box.

Leah Marshall in her presentation described how growing up in a love filled family on a certified organic livestock farm in the small rural Alberta community of Rosalind has shaped the richness of her faith and life. In the beauty of the land and sky one is constantly made aware of God’s presence. Happy childhood memories are associated with farm activity such as hauling crates of chickens. Her family has been farming for more than 30 years with chickens, turkeys, pigs, and sheep and are committed to organic farming wishing to remain good stewards of God’s earth by limiting the use of chemicals to maintain sustainable farming.

Leah, like Candace, seemingly has found God in a very special place rooted in God’s earth. This is something that can be an inspiration for us all.

Closing Prayer

Lord we thank you for the presence and gift of your Holy Spirit in our lives this day and born in us anew each day; for those of us living here in Canada and our partners and brother and sister in Christ, Geoffrey and Joyce from Tanzania. 

We witness your presence in the beauty of this place, the Sorrento Centre, and in the miraculous emergence of new life from the soils of Sorrento farm which provides sustenance to us and others in the surrounding community. 

Wherever we may abide, tilling the soil, seeding the soil, watering the land, we pray and put our faith in thee, that an abundance of wholesome nutritious food for all may be forthcoming so that we across Canada may continue to share the miracle of such growth and your creation with our partners and other peoples around this wondrous earth. Amen.

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