Episcopal Café offers the following “weekly collection plate of some of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week.”  In many people’s minds, this may be mission and ministry.  And I guess I wouldn’t disagree.  But in my mind, this is also stewardship in its most basic fashion:  taking care of God’s creation.  In my mind, that’s what God called us to do (dating all the way back to the mythic garden, which sets up and defines our relationship with God).  I guess it’s a question of whether we start with baptism and gifts and ministry or we start with creation and our place in God’s creation.  Both are places I’ve been known to start.  Anyway, here’s the “collection:”

Potatoes for People:

When the Episcopal Church in Basalt, Colorado, decided to help feed families in need, members of the congregation decided against simply handing over a check or dry goods to a food bank. They wanted to grow what they give. So members of St. Peter’s of the Valley plowed up the back yard of their church in Elk Run this spring, and on Sunday they planted 50 pounds of the Red McClure potato, a variety that nearly disappeared decades after being developed in the Carbondale area early in the 20th century.
Church helps people find work

One day, while sitting inside St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in northeast Portland, Oregon, George DeWitz was listening to people complain about the economy when he got an idea. “I’m listening to what is being said, and nobody is doing anything about it,” said DeWitz, who will turn 82 this month. “They’re talking the talk, but they’re not walking the walk.” With his job-training background, he knew he could – and should – do something. “I have this experience and know-how, and I know how to make it work,” he said. “I’ve hired people. I’ve trained people. I’ve been a very fortunate person. I’ve made my life very comfortable financially, so I thought, ‘Well, you’ve got to do it.’ ” What DeWitz did was design a seminar for people looking for work. The seminar, which is free and ongoing, will start Thursday, May 21, at the church, where he has been a member for 20 years.
Montana church supports Russian orphans

[Sergei] Sidorov has been in St. Helena for the past few weeks as a guest of the church. Accompanied by Svetlana Golovanova, a translator for Russia’s international-level athletes, he has witnessed first-hand Grace’s massive rummage sale, which for the past nine years has provided funds for its Russian mission. The rummage and estate sales were held this past Saturday and Sunday. This year the rummage sale netted $38,000, Manzer said. “We wanted him to see what was done here,” Manzer said. “We’ve had 130 volunteers for three, four, five days in a row. Sergei’s eyes were very big to see all these people donating all these valuable things and people cleaning them and selling them. So, he has lifetime of stories to tell.”