By Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers
“The South 40” is shorthand for the Bethany property south of the parking lot, and it represents in a profound way the future ministry of our congregation as expressed through the provision of affordable housing. It is exciting to drive past those four acres and imagine the families who will live there, the need it will address for affordable housing on Bainbridge, and the health and well-being of a community that understands the gift and necessity of diversity. Please include this mission and vision in your prayers as we shape our faithful future.
Meanwhile, let me give you a tour of that property
and the purpose and pleasure it provides:
- The garage currently is filled to capacity with Rotary Auction items, a temporary storage facility for stuff too good to waste in the crusher.
- The garden is revitalized this summer, thanks to the efforts of so many including Mary Douglas and Doug Olson. It now is a faith incubator for our children and a source of produce for our members and for Helpline House.
- The orchard is ripening with its new apples, and they are looking good.
- While in the orchard, check out the new (refurbished) picnic tables and benches among the trees and facing the fire pit. Our thanks to Garrett Peterson and company who carried out this effort as an Eagle. Scout project.
- Seated at the picnic tables your eyes may be attracted to a large pile of pallets and wood frames stacked there. They are used each year by our Bethany Boy Scouts in their Christmas Tree sales.
- Meander through the orchard and see the huge honey locust trees, removed by our work crew with our friends from the Church of Steadfast Love (Compass Housing Alliance congregation.) Thanks especially to Joe Sommerseth.
- Farther on you will intersect with the nonmotorized trail that runs the length of Bethany property along Sportsman’s Club Road. This now is linked with a new trail at the southern tip of our property, extending all the way to Weaver Road. (I saw a coyote crossing it last week).
- All the while, pick the blackberries “planted” there for your enjoyment, delight in the salal, and greet the neighbors along the way.
And when you glance back to see Bethany Lutheran Church, on the other side of our park-and-ride lot, you will see a newly painted church, with new windows, new blinds, and a new HVAC system … and give thanks.