Room for Everyone

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Room for Everyone
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Everything in our community garden serves a functional use. Those lovely plant displays you see upon turning off of Hill Ave? They have a few ornamental flowers, but tomatoes forms the centerpiece. Those bright red and orange flowers growing in the vertical garden? They’re nasturtiums, an edible flower possessing a distinct spicy taste (try one sometime – you’ll enjoy it!). That same functionality applies to the sunflower room right outside the church’s entrance. The large, adjoining rows of sunflowers aren’t just gorgeous to look at – they also provide a shared space within the larger garden.
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Beauty and shared space might not fill us up the same way a tasty piece of corn does, but they are valuable nonetheless. Food is a basic, vital need, but it’s not the only one. People also need safety, love, confidence, and respect – among many other things. Those things don’t grow in gardens the same way food does, but they can be found in the act of growing itself. The fresh produce our garden provides to local community members comes with no judgment or strings attached – just love and empathy for our neighbor. Helping our neighbor doesn’t end with satisfying basic, sustenance-level needs. It continues with understanding and compassion.
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So we strive to make everyone feel welcome, whether they’re here to worship in the church or just taking home a few juicy tomatoes. The large, vibrant enclosure of sunflowers says, “Stay awhile, enjoy yourself, and appreciate the small things.” Instead of demarcating an exclusive area, they create a space for anyone to make use of. Indeed, a comic-con themed wedding was held in the sunflower room not too long ago. The bride and groom, who attend Sunday worship periodically (they live further outside Toledo), used the space to share a meaningful moment with close family and friends. Since the flowers just came into full bloom when their wedding took place, they were the first to utilize the sunflower room. But they won’t be the last!
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The sunflower room, set-up for a wedding.
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Writer’s Note: The bride from the wedding mentioned in this post has a wonderful, widely read blog of her own. Please take some time to check it out at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/sarahoverthemoon/!
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