A Community Garden

As we look forward to opening the Mercy House, I’m considering a community garden project that will provide fresh vegetables to our distribution center. What do you think? I’ve posted some of my thoughts to the Garden Web Forum for input and ideas.

I’m the pastor of a church on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We have a food pantry serving low-income folks in our community, especially those struggling with poverty following Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

We also continue to host volunteers short-term mission teams from across the country in the ongoing relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. We have been doing a lot of clean-up and rebuilding over the last five years. For example, this March, just about 5 weeks from today, we will have about 400 high school and college students from Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama, Kansas, and Mississippi here for their spring break volunteering in a host of projects around our community. I’m considering focusing some of the attention on establishing a vegetable garden, here on the church property, that will then, in turn, serve our food pantry ministry with fresh produce.

I’m looking for ideas. Any suggestions on type of crops, varieties, plantings, best practices, etc would be welcome. Whatever we do, the long term sustainability of this project will depend on the low maintenance needs of the garden. While we will have plenty of help during the month of March to get things started, help will be sporadic, at best, throughout the growing season.

One idea I have involves what Native Americans called the “three sisters” – corn, beans, and squash. If I understand it correctly, the corn and beans complement each other with the corn stalks providing verticality for the climbing beans and the beans replace nitrogen into the soil for the corn. The squash then protects the ground and holds back the onslaught of weeds. I’ve never tried it before, but the idea sounds low maintenance to me. If I start germinating seeds in dixie cups this week, I would think the young plants would be ready for the ground by the time the spring break volunteer teams get here.

Any other ideas and discussion is welcome. Thank you so much.

Reformed Baptists

Reformed Baptist Mission Trip 2011

Last week, Reformed Baptists from across the country converged on Lakeshore for an intense time of mercy ministry, fellowship, construction, evangelism, and encouragement. I can’t thank them enough for the blessings they showered on my family, our church, and our community. Check out their Lakeshore Project 2011 blog for some great pictures and live reports from their trip.

The End of an Era

Good bye Quonset huts Hello Mercy House

We kicked off the new year with our good friends from Harvest Community church of Charlotte North Carolina. Among other projects on their list, the team dismantled our distribution center quonset hut, and moved the contents to the Mercy House where our distribution center will find its new home and the work of ministry will continue.

The progress marks the end of an era as we remove one more visage of the storm from our community landscape. Countless thousands of locals and volunteers from across the country have been impacted for Christ, over the past 5+ years through that glorified tent. We pray that as Lakeshore Baptist Church begins a new chapter that the Lord would see fit to continue magnifying his name through the Lakeshore Mercy Ministry on the gulf coast.

Good bye Quonset huts Hello Mercy House

Good bye Quonset huts Hello Mercy House

Good bye Quonset huts Hello Mercy House