Welcome to CENTRALPosts. This space is a place to explore ideas from our different initiatives and working groups. You will find entries from our Matthew 25 working groups focused on Dismantling Structural Racism and Eradicating Systemic Poverty, as well as entries by the Earth Care team.
To search for a topic or key word on this page, type ctrl-f (PC) or cmd-f (Apple) for "find" and then enter the keywword.
February is the month to start planning your vegetable garden whether it be in containers, raised beds, or in-ground. Planning includes deciding which garden type; selecting the garden location; deciding on the size; determining the types and varieties of vegetables to plant; and planning where, when, and how much of each vegetable to plant.
- Container gardens are excellent for beginners as well as advanced gardeners. Things to consider are the type of container (bigger is better), hours of sunlight, good potting soil (not garden soil), drainage, and vegetable types that do well in containers.
- Raised beds are another option. They generally produce higher yields and need less watering and weeding and can be built out of construction lumber. Four feet is ideal for the width because it allows you to reach in without stepping in and compacting the soil. The length can be determined by what your space requires.
- In-ground is the most classic. You must, however, consider the size of the garden and how much space you have (start small), soil type, drainage, and how much sun the plot will get during the growing season.
Next decide which vegetables you enjoy and would be practical to have in your garden. This is an excellent guide from Colorado State Extension which will help you make those decisions. https://cmg.extension.colostate.edu/Gardennotes/720.pdf. And now is the time to purchase seeds. Lettuce, green beans, peas, carrots, radishes, squash, chard, and kale are super easy to grow from seed. If you choose not to plant from seed, vegetable starts are always available and are sometimes more practical. And it is always helpful to draw a layout of your garden so you can see the where and how much of each vegetable you want to plant.
If you have any questions, email Suzanne. Next month we will look at soil preparation and how to go organic!
Welcome to the Earth Care team's first entry onto CENTRALPosts. We hope to inspire, educate and share information about this initiative monthly in this space. We invite you to join us as we strive to tread more lightly on God's creation and work in hands on ways to make a difference in our community.
Announcing our new outreach! CENTRALongmont Giving Gardens: As we work to fight hunger in our community in conjunction with caring for the Earth, Session has approved our new Giving Gardens initiative. According to the organization Feeding America, fresh fruits and vegetables are one of the most requested food items at food banks that are often in short supply. Also, according to Feeding America, one in 11 of our neighbors in Boulder County struggles with hunger — including more than 6,000 children [based on 2018 data, just think what this number might be after 2020]. We would like to join this fight to end hunger in our community by both creating a new congregational giving garden at a member's property (thank you, Ann!), as well as by encouraging a home giving garden army to aid us in this effort. We are just getting started. How can you help?
How can you help? Join us. Reach out to Jennifer Haratsaris to be part of the team working the congregational 20'x40' plot at Ann's property. We will be breaking ground soon. Or find a spot in your yard, planter boxes or containers to "grow a row" or two to share with our community. The fruits of our labor will be donated through The Round Pantry at Westview, other mission partners or through Boulder County Grow and Give outlets this summer and fall. We are still defining our gathering and distribution methods. As we continue in the midst of the pandemic, people have rediscovered the joy of gardening and cultivating the earth. This is an outreach we can do now and join others in Boulder County to create a small army working together to feed our community. [see Grow and Give Program]
Our very own Home Grown Tomatoes Circle is available to share tips and suggestions to assist you (see their post above). We will learn together how to grow food with sustainable practices, caring for bees, our soil and water supply while working to feed our neighbor and ourselves with a low carbon footprint. Watch for these each month in our Earth Care CENTRALPosts!
Commit to an Earth Care Lenten Practice: Presbyterians for Earth Care have shared a beautiful Lenten Devotional for 2021. "Let the voices in this devotional move your heart, and accept their invitation into joining in communion with all creation." Or choose the daily action calendar written by the Presbyterian Hunger Program called Tread Lightly for Lent. Both devotionals can be found at this link. You may also consider trying a carbon fast. Not a low carb fast, a low carbon fast. A low carbon diet means making lifestyle choices to reduce greenhouse gases. Such a diet minimizes emissions released from the production, packaging, processing, transport, preparation and waste of food. Just google the phrase "low carbon diet" to find all sorts of suggestions online.
Change your lightbulbs to eco-friendly types: CFL and LED bulbs can emit 25-80% less energy than traditional incandescents, plus they last longer! Consider this greener alternative when it comes time to replenishing those bulbs. We did! CENTRALongmont found an LED bulb that works in the 12 uplights around the cornice in the sanctuary. Thank you Mike for installing them! The total wattage will drop from 3600 watts to 360 watts. Next up, the can lights in Fellowship Hall!
During this month of Black History, we lift up our National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, as she shares another poem from her collection called "Earthrise". Enjoy her inspiring words.
“Racism is deeply embedded in the life and history of the U.S. Through colonization, slavery and a shameful history of legislative action and judicial pronouncements, our nation created and embraced a system that valued and devalued people based simply on skin color and ethnic identity. People of color were deliberately subjugated for material, political and social advantage. Racism today is the continuing and enduring legacy of this history.”
Matthew 25 Ministries
February is Black History Month. Please Join the Dismantling Structural Racism Working Group as we facilitate our monthly Lunch and Learn on Monday Feb 8, noon to 1 pm (see the church e-newsletter for Zoom link). We will focus on how to honor and remember those who struggled and are currently struggling to remove the oppression that our system perpetrates.
We are looking forward to walking with you on this journey.
Your Dismantling Structural Racism Working Group
Lisa, Donna, Eve, Eddie, Brian, Lawson, Steve, Ashley, and Phil
Eradicate: tr.v. 1. To tear up by the roots.
2. To get rid of as if by tearing up by the roots: eradicating poverty.
The American Heritage College Dictionary, 2000
As a member of the Matthew 25 working group assigned to the goal of “eradicating systemic poverty”, I have frequently wondered if our goal is the same or different from that of Central’s Mission Committee. If it is different, in what way is it different? Many members of the church, led by the outstanding Mission Committee, have long been hard at work feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, finding shelter for the homeless, and comforting the sick. (See Matthew 25: 31-46.) What more can we, as one church in Longmont, actually do to eradicate poverty?
In search of an answer I turned to the dictionary and found this to be helpful. To eradicate means to get rid of by tearing up the roots. Before we can work on eradicating poverty we need to educate ourselves on the root causes of poverty. This may not be easy. I am reminded of weeding the garden and being faced with pulling up bindweed. Those roots go on forever! But if one is persistent . . . the end is finally out in the open.
In addition to understanding what eradicate means, it is important to look at the rest of the goal. In its entirety our Matthew 25 goal is to “eradicate systemic poverty by working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate exploitation of people who are poor”. This means we must not only tackle the consequences of poverty such as hunger, homelessness, or lack of economic opportunity, but we must tackle the systemwide causes found in institutions such as education, housing, the job market, and the health system, both governmental and private.
How to achieve our goal may be further understood in the following statement from the PCUSA website.
“How do we eradicate systemic poverty?
Advocate for better public policies, including job creation, greater empowerment of workers, family-life balance, a quest for greater accuracy of official measurements of household economic well-being, a stronger social safety net, increased social involvement in poorer communities (such as expanded and enriched public schooling), and increased social inclusion and community empowerment as urged by the 220th General Assembly (2012).”
In order to understand the roots of poverty, as well as to plan what more we as a congregation can do to eradicate poverty, the working group will be presenting information and/or articles periodically in the e-newsletter and published on CENTRALPosts. Please read the information presented with an open mind. You may not agree with everything you read but keep looking for any information that is helpful to your understanding. These will be great points for discussion.
Martha Ramos, Elder
(If you would like to be part of the Systemic Poverty Working Group, notify Martha Ramos, Linda Parker, Cheryl Bodin, or Donna Weaver.)
Dave Wasserman, Rev. Dr., HR
Living in Taos, New Mexico
Copyright 2020, David H Wasserman
If I had to sum up this year of 2020 among the first words that come to mind are: “I can’t breathe”. We have seen and heard too many people utter these words. I can’t breathe. In May, a Black man from Minneapolis, George Floyd, uttered those words as he was restrained by a police team, with the air literally pressed out of him: I can’t breathe.
The result was a wave of protests on a massive scale – some violent, most not…that have continued to surge with each new shooting of a Black human being – most by local police. And once more Anglo, White, Euro Americans have been confronted by American’s embedded racism.
I can’t breathe. Words uttered by thousands of people this year being placed on a ventilator, trying to provide enough time for the body to do its healing. . .
I can’t breathe. Words uttered by thousands of people this year being placed on a ventilator, trying to provide enough time for the body to do its healing. Think back to January, February and March and the COVID-19 virus that exploded into a global pandemic. Early on, the daily news told stories of those who caught it, avoided, it, survived it, and died from it. Through the summer and fall we’ve watched the virus recede only to surge again, as we wait for a successful vaccine. To date globally (October 13, 2020) over 38.1 million people have contracted the virus and 1,000,000+ have succumbed to it.
I can’t breathe. Words spoken by employers and employees alike as businesses were shut down in response to the stay at home, lock the borders, quarantine orders. The economic recession has crushed workers’ bank accounts and dreams, especially those who are part of our small business community. They have gone underwater, or nearly so. And millions more of us have sunk below the poverty level. Help – I’m drowning. I can’t…
I can’t breathe, Planet Earth has been telling us this for decades. And then, in a bit of irony, Earth has been breathing a bit easier this year. The stay at home orders have forced a different lifestyle in which we have been driving less, flying less, using less carbon-based oil and…putting less carbon dioxide into our very thin (62 miles) atmosphere. But with our rush to re-open beaches and businesses, to reward ourselves with unmasked, mass gathering parties, to return to our former “normal”, it won’t last. Earth’s temperatures keep rising (July was the hottest month ever recorded and September the hottest September on record) and with that we all will have an increasingly difficult time breathing and Earth will keep groaning.
Rising temperatures have consequences, and not simply about the air we breathe. As Earth’s climate becomes increasingly unstable, both animals and humans will face more and more heat waves, droughts, fires, floods, hurricanes, rising seas, economic crises and frankly, even more pandemics when thousand-year old frozen bacteria will be released as polar ice continues to melt. We’re trapped between responding to today’s crises and anticipating tomorrow’s.
Well, the God of Creation has some things to say to us.
Recognize that the impact of this year has affected us unevenly. The poor, people of color, the marginalized, the sick, the elderly and the young whom we are supposed to protect have suffered the most. Some have lost their lives.
Recognize that thinking globally while living locally offers a healing power. There’s a call to use the resources closest to us first, to be satisfied with enough.
Recognize that Earth is less and less able to absorb the consequences of our excessive, greedy, and short-sighted lifestyles. Quit treating Planet Earth as our hospitality suite and become Earth’s partners for a sustainable future.
Remember that Life on this planet is not simply about breathing, but about connecting with others. God expects us to respect, learn from, treat fairly all of Life here, to confront our prejudices against other people and other forms of Life…and to change our ways. The best of this Life focuses primarily on the common good.
Finally, for those of us who are more fortunate, more secure and have suffered less…there are two God-given charges. First, we with more are called to share more with those who have suffered more. …with more of our time, energy, ingenuity, financial resources …to ease the pain and offer hope. Second, we with more are called to imagine and build a future that is fairer, more just, and better prepared to face the pain that comes with continued rising temperatures. Educating, Teaching, Planning Ahead. Holding Elected Leaders Accountable for their Actions and their Inaction.
What a gift we could give each other if, as we approach the end of this year, we all were making this kind of turning. The result? More and more of us breathing easy.
Dave Wasserman (Rev.Dr.) Currently serves on the Presbyterians for Earth Care Steering Committee as the Southwest Regional representative.