Creating a "Giving Garden" as a Ministry A Field Trip to Franklin (Tenn.) First United Methodist Church We will leave Scarritt Bennett Center at 9 a.m. (Meet at Laskey Welcome Center at 8:45 a.m.). We will return to Scarritt Bennett by11:20 a.m. This is about a thirty-five minute ride one way.
Learn how the Creation Care Team of Franklin First United Methodist Church is leading this church 20 miles south of Nashville in efforts to be good stewards of the land under its care. Twelve years ago, the congregation purchased for its new church facility107 acres of land that used to be used for a horse farm. Starting from a pumpkin patch planted for kids, the land now features a five-acre "Giving Garden" that produces around 15 tons of organic vegetables, cut flowers, and herbs annually, which are distributed to more than 20 community organizations in middle Tennessee. Volunteers from all over the country come during the growing season to help with planting, weeding, harvesting, etc. The Creation Care team is also actively engaged in efforts to preserve the surrounding fields and woods (with a stream running through it) so that it can be good habitat for wildlife. The church keeps bees that help with pollination, and is in the process or organizing a "bioblitz" to determine the different species on the land. The tour will be led by the chief gardener, Lynn Wallace. "God had a plan for me to be in the Giving Garden that took 48 years to complete," Lynn says. "During that time, I got a degree from LSU and worked worldwide managing environmental projects and consulting. Now God has me on a team that produces and gives away tons of fresh organic produce annually." Sarah McGinley will help lead the tour.
Building a Movement: Learning from Civil Rights Activism A Conversation with Rip Patton 10:00 a.m., Laskey Great Hall (where our plenary sessions will be taking place) at the Scarritt Bennett Center
This conversation about the civil-rights movement will help us think about our efforts to build a movement for creation care and environmental justice.
Dr. Rip Patton participated in student sit-ins from 1960 to '61 in Nashville and in the Freedom Rides of 1961. As a 20-year-old student at the historically black college Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial (now Tennessee State University), Patton took part in the Gandhian/Christian trainings in nonviolent direct action led by United Methodist Pastor Rev. James Lawson. Rev. Lawson had been invited to be a trainer for the movement by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was working on a degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Dr. Patton and other students who were to become key leaders in the civil-rights movement (such as Rep. John Lewis and Dianne Nash) used these tactics to successfully integrate lunch counters, movie theaters, and grocery stores. In response to the brutal beatings of a fellow student, John Lewis, and others in Alabama who were part of the first wave of Freedom Riders seeking to integrate bus service across the deep South, Patton joined a second wave of Freedom Riders (mostly students) who were determined that their cause not be stopped by white violence. As a result, Patton was arrested in Jackson, Miss., and spent several weeks in the infamous Parchman Farm State Penitentiary. He speaks all over the world about his experience, often under the auspices of Facing History and Ourselves. He is a member of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church in Nashville.