St. Alban’s Episcopal Church brings new meaning to the religious tradition of dining on the grounds.
“Farm to Feast @ St. Alban’s”, will be held on four Sunday evenings – May 22, June 5, June 19 and July 3 – with a farmers market and dinner on the church grounds, offering church members and area residents the opportunity to buy fresh vegetables and enjoy the conviviality through a meal.
The rector of St. Alban, the Reverend Elizabeth Malphurs, said the program was carried out in partnership with Garden Farmacy in Bolton, a chemical-free farm focused on plants and orchards.
“We wanted to find a way to bring more fresh produce to our area because Bovina is a bit far from the supermarket and there’s not a lot of fresh food that way,” she said. “We started working and developing four Sunday nights where they could come and bring whatever was growing in their garden to St. Alban’s, set up a farmers market, and then it all evolved from there.
“We thought we could offer dinner and maybe some activities to get people to church,” Malphurs said. “It’s become more than a farmer’s market; we try to provide some camaraderie after the isolation (COVID) of the past two years – a chance for people to enjoy our beautiful grounds.
The idea behind the program, she said, is to provide an easy way for church members to invite neighbors and for the congregation to invite church neighbors on Warriors Trail “to come to the church grounds, not for a church service, but for dinner and to have fun and not focus on a worship service.
“We will be worshiping that morning, so there will be no evening worship,” she said.
“Our main goal is to serve the community in a way that isn’t always about evangelism and preaching to people,” said Carolyn Gent, a member of the church’s vestry and one of the Farm to Planners. Festival.
“We have such a great opportunity with the physical property of St. Albans – our beautiful grounds – and we have the opportunity to share it with the community and we come out of the pandemic; we are able to plan and do so much more as a community and to be able to share that is super exciting,” she said.
Malphurs said Farm to Feast is also linked to the Anglican Church’s tradition of Rogation Days, which are the Sunday and first days leading up to the celebration of Ascension, which takes place 40 days after Easter.
“Rogation Days is specifically a Church of England holiday about blessing crops and farmers and all vocations that help provide food for us and nurture our communities,” she said. “The rogation seemed like a great connection if we had farmers coming to church to celebrate the farmers and bless the fields and give thanks to God for the plants that are growing and the ways that the people who supply us are fed. ”
And as the committee planning the program looked at the calendar, the members noticed that Pentecost Sunday was two weeks after the Rogation Days and two weeks after Pentecost was the feast of Saint Alban, and two weeks after that was the 4th of July. .
“It was a coincidence, but it kept us focused every Sunday,” Malphurs said. “The first Sunday we could focus on the crops, the land and the farmers and the second Sunday we will have a big bonfire because fire is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. We are going to make a birthday cake at Pentecost for the birth of the church. It (the program) just gave us a direction to focus on every Sunday on how to focus our activity.
Besides meals, Malphurs said, there will be crafts and activities for children and programs on different topics. The beekeeper who oversees St. Alban’s hives will discuss beekeeping and the master gardeners will hold a question and answer session.
“Our theme is ‘Caring for Creation’, so we have different activities related to that,” Malphurs said. She said the church will offer discounts to neighbors for $10 fresh produce vouchers. Anyone, she says, can go to church or one of the Sunday nights to get one.
“It would be a way for people who need fresh vegetables to get them without having to jump through a lot of hurdles,” she added.