July 30, 2016
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 Ron Ste. Marie, Diocesan Representative, Territory of the People (formerly Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior).
Friday was a day of reflection on some of what we’ve already been through both collectively and individually, as well as a time to take in new information and look forward to what life after Sharing Bread (Three) might bring.
Michael and Allie, once again, did a great job of helping us debrief the previous day. We identified abundance in the activities and relationships that we had enjoyed as well as how we had been brought close to God through these experiences. We have been touched by being here at the Sorrento Centre and by examples of greening the desert, the Diocese of New Westminster’s project of supplying a green house to our Cuban partners and efforts to deal with homelessness in Toronto. Otherwise, water fight anyone? How about a trip to a waterfall with a serious ice cream stop along the way? Important fun stuff!
Today’s message from ‘Fred Says’ was on how important it is for small scale farmers in the developing world to have control or ‘agency’ over their situations. Control over land, farming methods, saved seed, human rights, fair trade and influence over policy and process that affect them and their communities. Perhaps more than anything else, our disadvantaged sisters and brothers need to have a voice that is heard clearly so that they can advocate for themselves based upon their own priorities.
To zoom out and get a somewhat larger picture, we explored the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s (CFGB) Good Soil Campaign. This effort focuses on the one in nine of our sisters and brothers globally who lack food security. Ironically, 70% of these are smallholder farmers, many of them women. CFGB calls us to prayer and advocacy on their behalf and, among other efforts, their postcard campaign is designed to urge the Canadian Government to better finance improvements in food assistance. To whom much is given, much will be asked. This is the fortunate situation in which we Canadians find ourselves.
Before a final prayer and adjournment, we were all requested to share in three areas. What brought us here and what expectations did we have upon arrival? What fruit did we harvest during our time together? Where do we, individually, go from here? Answers were, of course, varied and all shared freely. There was a sense that, even though the challenges are real and there is sometimes a ‘surplus of powerlessness’, we are certainly not alone and that united in the body, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can achieve more than we can ask or imagine.
Closing Prayer (by Jennifer and Ron Ste Marie)
It will be good. Lord, we rest in you.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, separated light from darkness and gave life to the earth. We pray for the Dai Mas in Bangladesh and for the Maternal and Newborn Child Health program. Though the creation groans we know that… It will be good. Lord, we rest in you.
God created the morning and the evening and separated the waters from the dry land. The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows God’s handiwork. We pray for the wise use of both soil and water. As we learn to be better stewards, we know that… It will be good. Lord we rest in you.
God has given all tree-bearing plants and trees in succession. We give thanks for all seed savers, for uncultivated plants and for the leaves of the trees that are for the healing of the nations. As we work with nature and gain wisdom, we know that… It will be good. Lord, we rest tin you.
We are grateful for the sun, moon and stars; the seasons, days and years. We are grateful for the gift of the seasons and the different harvests and possibilities of each time of year. As we learn to live in harmony with the cycles of the earth, we know that… It well be good. Lord, we rest in you.
We see the creatures of water and sky and are struck by the variety and abundance that is our heritage as children of God. We pray to steward this abundance with restraint and wisdom. As we do, we know that… It will be good. Lord we rest in you.
We appreciate the life of the land; wild and domestic; humankind made in your image with reason, imagination and the power to make things better or worse. We give thanks for this Sorrento Centre and all who practice hospitality here. We pray that the farm, and all of the workers will prosper. We pray for PWRDF, for UBINIG, for CFGB and for all who make it their business to care for creation. We know that if we serve the creation we will also serve God and each other. We know that… It will be good. Lord we rest in you.
Lord God, keep us from discouragement when we go astray when we misunderstand others, ourselves and you. We know that, in the end… It will be good. Lord, we rest in you.
Because it will be good. Lord we rest in you.