Saturday, July 23, 2016

Harrisburg Convocation Immersion Excursion: Day 2

Wow.  Who cares that is was nearly 100 degrees today?  We had a blast!

Our morning began at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Shippensburg where we gathered to set out on a gleaning adventure.  We were led by the energetic Deacon Wanda Kloza who organizes the Feed My Sheep Ministry in our diocese, supporting, connecting and encouraging food ministries in Central PA.    Wanda explained what we would be doing, introduced us to our new Gleaning Captains, Jay and Renee of  The Gleaning Project of South Central PA, and after a time of prayer and the anointing of our hands, we were off in a caravan to the Gro-Mor Farm in Shippensburg to “pull” (not “pick,” we learned,) corn.

What is gleaning?

In biblical terms, Gleaning is a practice that is part of Levitical law, instructing land owners and farmers to leave the edges of their fields unharvested so that the poor can have food.  Leviticus 23:22 says, "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.’"

In the book of Ruth, Chapter 2, we know that Ruth gleaned in the field of Boaz. (Ruth 2: 2)

And today, we gleaned in the field of Gro-Mor Farm.  The 51 dozen ears of corn that we picked, (450 lbs!) will be sent to the Shippensurg Produce delivery site-  a food bank that distributes fresh fruit and vegetables to those in need.  Deacon Wanda was an originator of the SPO.  Jay, one of our gleaning leaders from the Gleaning Project told us that in one year, they gather 100,000 lbs. of produce to give away.  He also told us that in Franklin County, PA’s 2nd largest source of fresh produce, only 6% of the residents eat three or more servings of vegetables per day.  

We pulled corn for about an hour, and over some refreshing watermelon, learned more about this awesome mission.  It was a  joy and an honor to be part of this project today.

Anointing hands for service

Smiling in spite of the heat!
On our way to the gleaning site

Happy gleaners:  Wanda, Carenda, Barbara

Our farmer demonstrating how to pull corn
a LONG row to glean

Double fisted gleaner

Plenty of corn!
Rebecca, happy at the end of her row

episcopal art shot..
Watermelon never tasted so good!
Alexander, Andrew and Lisa!

Bishop living into her farm fantasy
What a crew!

After our gleaning adventure, we headed East, through the Cumberland Valley, up and over Doubling Gap, through Colonel Denning State Park and into the village of Newport, where we met a gathered group of about 12 folks for lunch.  The gathering included parishioners of Nativity, Newport; St. Luke’s, Mechanicsburg, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.  We ate at a restaurant called “Esspresso Yourself.”  It is a restaurant that features fresh, locally sourced, farm-to-table food and is especially conscientious about being good members of the local community.  They participate in some community work programs and have a large garden where they grow much of their produce.  The owner sat with us for a while and talked about her desire to offer fresh, wholesome food and the importance of connection with community.  Lunch was delicious. (I had a fresh cabbage salad with sesame and rice wine vinegar dressing and some grilled chicken on top.  A tall glass of minty iced green tea, too.)

Our chef at "Espresso Yourself" telling us about her philosophy about food


We had a few minutes to wander some around the local shoppes, and I found it hard to resist a cast iron cow piggy bank at the antique store and some raw cacao, date and sunflower bites at the health food store.

Back in the car... and off to Carlisle!

We met Bill Lord at the gate to the US Army War College.  Bill serves as one of the Wardens at St. John’s, Carlisle and is a Faculty Instructor in Management and Leadership at the US Army War College.  He is also the editor of a book called, How The Army Runs.  Bill spent about an hour with us, driving us around the impressive (and large) campus of the War College, (in his air-conditioned van) and telling us about the work that goes on behind the gates.  It is impressive. The Carlisle barracks were established in 1757 and the site of the War College served many uses through the years:  it was a Calvary School, an Indian Industrial School ( with Jim Thorpe as a student!), A Medical Field Service School, an Army Information School, Military Police School and since 1951, the US Army War College.

Currently, there are about 400 students who attend a year-long program and study in the area of Strategic Landpower.  Class work includes Theory of War and Strategy, Strategic Leadership, National Security Policy and Strategy, Theatre Strategy and Campaigning, Defense Management, and Global Security. The students in the 2015 class came from the Army (217), Air Force (32), Marines (17), Navy (12) Coast Guard (1), Civilian (29 ) and Internatinoal students (79).  It’s not especially easy to get in:  Bill told us that the acceptance rate is about 7-10 %.

In addition to the year-long Strategic Landpower Program, the War College also hosts the US Army Heritage and Education Center, the US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operation s Institute, the Senior Leader Development & Resiliency Program, and the  Strategic Studies Institute.

For a layperson like me when it comes to all-things-military, it was all new.  

I missed taking any pictures-  we were moving pretty fast through the campus and I was working to catch all that Bill shared with us.  

It is clear that this is an important part of life in the Cumberland Valley- and I was grateful for a look behind the gates.

Tomorrow, the 3-Day Immersion Excursion finishes up with a visit at my “home base,” St. Stephen’s Cathedral at 8:00 and 10:15 AM.  I’ve been heartened to hear from many people in the Convocation who will be coming to join in a special anthem and to enjoy a gathering for worship with Convocation Partners.  Time to polish the sermon.

With prayers for the hungry tonight, for those who labor in fields, and for those who give of their intellect to serve our country.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome ministry. That's a lot of corn left over and it's good to see it's not wasted. I love the photo of your ring against the corn. Gleaning corn and nourishing souls - sounds like solid episcopal endeavors.