At BCFSN, we thrive in part from our local Coordinating Committees positioned across the country that act as a “hub” for churches in that specific region to build relationships and discuss location specific topics. We are committed to expanding our reach nationally but through the leadership of local people who serve as part of our Coordinating Committees.
Our Coordinating Committee in Jacksonville, Florida is helping great churches mobilize to do great things! This week, let’s shine a spotlight on one of them: New Mt. Moriah AME Church. Below is an interview with Mrs. Sharon Rashad who is the wife of Reverend Sha’Reff Rashad, the Senior Pastor. Under their efficient leadership, the church gardens are growing and their vision for its future is coming to life! This congregation is working hard and their gardens are thriving!
1. What (if any) was your background in growing vegetables and raising animals for food?
Mrs. Rashad: I was born in New York but grew up in Summerville, SC. There were farms all around my family. I have had the opportunity to watch a pig go from running around the yard to being breakfast on the table. Even though gardening was all around me, I never developed an interest until my grandfather was credited with growing the LARGEST head of cabbage in the garden, he had right in his yard that still stands today. He is 105 years old so it’s not an operational garden – but it’s still there and he’s still around but these days, he just looks out at it. I was always amazed but never thought gardening would be in my future
2. When did you hear about the BCFSN?
Mrs. Rashad: My husband, Pastor Sha’Reff Rashad, and I were invited to a presentation through our partnership with Baptist Health and the Faith Partnership that our church is a part of. After this encouraging presentation, we knew we had to bring this concept back to the congregation at New Mt. Moriah AME Church. Our Health Ministry was looking for a way to make an impact, and we now know what that opportunity is. We are excited and grateful.
3. What are you hoping to accomplish with your plot?
Mrs. Rashad: We are hoping to accomplish a sense of ownership and accountability among those who take part in the garden project. This garden will be a small example of what our members can do on their own with prayer dedication to create a healthy food source for themselves, their families, and their communities. Where better to start this than with the church. We have developed “garden days” where members can come out and assist in the upkeep of the garden. We are making plans to have members grow seedlings as starter plants for our next growing season. We also look forward to the fellowship and relationships that are being built as a part of those persons willing to take part in making the project a huge success for our members and our community. We have not only embarked on the garden portion of the project, God has provided us with enough property, that was going unused, to begin a three phase project (community garden, prayer bench with a place where people can spend time with God, and a fruit tree sanctuary). Our Annual “Harvest Day Celebration” that take place each year will have new meaning when we are able to truly celebrate among our own harvest.
4. Do you enjoy the work?
Mrs. Rashad: 100% YES! I think of my grandfather and how much fun I would have had helping him in that family garden. The fellowship and relationship building has brought joy to me and so many others. No better way to get to know your fellow church family than to be “down in the dirt” right!
5. Where do you hope to see the church in 10 years and how does the garden play a part in that?
Mrs. Rashad: In 10 years, I foresee our fully grown fruit trees, our 10th year of growing a viable food source in our garden, and a true sanctuary for prayer and reflection for the members of New Mt. Moriah, their families, friends, and our community. It will be a place where people can come who may be in need of not only food, but peace and the true feeling of love of people and most importantly, the love of God.
We are excited to see the growth of this awesome ministry! To see what other amazing things are happening at this church, check out their website here!
For more information about our Coordinating Committees or if you are interested in starting one in your local region, contact us at [email protected].