In my last blog post I described the experience of the #FaithLands gathering at Paicines Ranch. At the end of that post, I promised "part two." In part two, I thought I would share the story of all that has happened since the gathering at the beginning of March.
That turns out to be impossible, for two reasons: 1) There are a lot of follow up stories that I don't know about and I can't report on; 2) Even my own follow up story is still unfolding, not yet ready to share.
The image above speaks to me about the deeper story of FaithLands. Many of the old fenced borders of this world have cobwebs on them.
Where we put boundaries, God weaves connections.Sunrises keep coming. The sun shines on all of us. The land is meant to nourish all as well. Restored grasslands like those in the image can sequester carbon in soil, benefitting all humanity.
Each place has its own story. In God's mercy, every place has the potential to have a story of healing.
There's really only one large takeaway from the #FaithLands gathering: you are invited to join your story to the stories that are unfolding.
Six weeks after the gathering, here's where we are: There's a mission statement (which was arrived at in a room at Paicines in approximately an hour with pretty clear consensus):We are an emerging coalition and learning community seeking to connect religious traditions, agriculture, and ecological stewardship, inspiring a spiritual and ethical revolution in our relationship to each other and the land.
There's a host organization - Agrarian Trust. At Paicines we decided that a national non-religious land trust organization would best hold a multifaith learning community about land use. Agrarian Trust has stepped up to that plate.
As the website says,
By making land available for sustainable agriculture and conservation of biodiversity, faith communities can make a positive impact towards the health of the planet and its people. Projects that combine agriculture, conservation, faith, and neighborhood partnerships can embody long-held faith-based values, while providing new avenues for relationship, reconciliation, and ecological and spiritual renewal.
There's a network growing. There are multiple projects and conversations in multiple locations with multiple denominations.
This is all very, very new... seedling scale new .I don't know how it will grow, but I do know I'm committed to watering, tending, and helping this seedling grow into something that bears fruit for God. Using land set aside for the glory of God. For the sake of all the people God made, and the earth God made as our home.
Plainsong Farm is a seedling demonstration project, and FaithLands is a seedling wider community.God is growing something. Thanks be to God.