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Gratitude for a Centre that feels like Home

Sorrento Centre Sustainable Farm

July 26, 2016

By act

PWRDF, in collaboration with the Sorrento Centre, is holding its third food security course titled, Sharing Bread (Three), from July 24 to 30. Each day, staff and participants will blog about the experience. Today’s blog is written by Lynne Taylor, a member of PWRDF’s Board of Directors.

The Sorrento Retreat and Conference Centre rests on the southern shore of Shuswap Lake, 76 km northeast of Kamloops, British Columbia. I traveled by Greyhound Bus from the Greater Vancouver Area marveling at the beauty of God’s creation on a perfect summer day in British Columbia.

As we crossed over the Fraser River on the Port Mann bridge my eyes encountered a vision I didn’t expect to see. The River, often choppy and muddy, appeared as a sheet of glass with the only ripples being created by two fishing boats traveling to the River’s mouth. An early morning mist blanketed both water and shoreline as the sun rose, creating a backdrop in the eastern sky.

As we approached Langley, BC, Mount Baker (Washington) filled the horizon with its spectacular beauty. If you live or travel in BC’s Lower Mainland you crave a glimpse of this incredible wonder. Often it is shrouded in cloud but yesterday it was in full display for all to admire.

Arriving at Sorrento Centre I received a very warm welcome from staff and over the course of our evening meal I met the other participants of Sharing Bread (Three)—A Food Security and Health Learning Exchange. Group facilitators are PWRDF staff Suzanne Rumsey and Sheilagh McGlynn and group participants include Bangladesh partners Farida Akhter and Liza Khatun of UBINIG.

Bee hives at the farm act as pollinators
Bee hives at the farm act as pollinators

Sorrento Centre is a little like PWRDF’s National Gatherings where we invite several groups of people to share common activities, for example, meals, worship and social activities. Following an inspirational and up-lifting worship service led by Andrew Halladay and David Taylor, priests from the Diocese of New Westminster, our group visited the Centre’s organic farm for a tour conducted by Duncan Chalmers. We are grateful to Duncan for sharing his knowledge of the farm, both historical and working knowledge, as well as his patience with our many questions. He discussed farming methods, crop rotation, irrigation, diversity of crops, variety of seed, organic solutions to pesky pests, and explained the importance of pollination.

The bee colonies are at the back edge of the fields, between the rows of

Delicious taste of Food Security - raspberries!
Delicious taste of Food Security – raspberries!

raspberries and the woods. I immediately thought of Adele Finney’s edge habitat reflections (the sacred space between two different habitats). It’s quite amazing for a “city girl” to inhale the fragrance of freshly crushed lavender and taste ripe raspberries and blackberries plucked moments before off the bush. What a wonderful way to begin our food security discussions.

Upon our return to the Centre we gathered as a group to “build community”, each of us sharing a food story, an experience that had an impact on how we use or prepare food in our daily lives. We learned that several in our group are long time vegetable gardeners while others are newly hooked. Sorrento Centre’s program guide notes “Sorrento Centre Farm is now entering its 7th year of producing fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers for our guests and community.” Kitchen staff lovingly prepare meals using fresh farm produce. We are blessed to receive extremely tasty and nutritious meals.

The Reverend Louise Peters, Executive Director of Sorrento Centre invited all first time participants of the Centre to join her for an opportunity to learn of the Centre—its history, its programs, its core values. I count 55 private groups hosting programs at the Centre in 2016, 15 of the groups are quilters.

At the end of day one we share gratitude for a retreat centre that feels like home, for healthy, satisfying meals and for fellowship that feeds our souls.

Closing Prayer

from Lent 2016, a Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund resource

with grateful thanks to author, The Reverend Laura Marie Piotrowicz

Creator of the cosmos, we give you thanks for this world that sustains us.

We give you thanks for our sisters in Bangladesh who are utilizing their corner of your world to provide for their families and neighbours.

We ask that your blessings would continue to be upon them as they use your creation to make food available.

We pray for the world, for the greatness of creation, for the potential in the tiny.

We pray for the bio-diversity in the soil, the potential in the seeds, the opportunity to use the soil to create our own nourishment.

May we be amazed at the vast possibilities in our own corner of the cosmos, inspired by the potential of what lays before us to make your bounty available to all.

Gracious God, you did not divide the world when you made it; you created all to be shared by all.

Help us to see the world not as land to be ‘owned’, and instead as your Garden to be nurtured and sustained by all.

Help us to use your land that its abundance might be shared by all.

Amen.

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