It begins with the ChurchLands pilot project
In the autumn of 2019, Holy Trinity was invited to participate in a nationwide Episcopal church pilot project known as ChurchLands. Its purpose is to explore the current use of the land where churches worship.
The project is a response to Resolution D053, “Stewardship of Creation with Church-Owned Lands,” which was approved by the 2018 General Convention of the Episcopal Church. It recommends “that all dioceses, faith communities and institutions create partnerships enabling the use of church-owned land for regenerative agriculture and biodiversity conservation projects in order to sequester carbon and to mitigate climate change.”
Discerning what to do with our 10 acres
In January 2020, 15 churches from all over the nation, California to Massachusetts, sent delegates to the initial ChurchLands project conference held at Plainsong Farm in Rockford, MI. Two members of Holy Trinity, Rich Dykstra and then-Senior-Warden Debbie Murphy, attended on behalf of Holy Trinity.
In early March 2020, Rich and Debbie reported on the ChurchLands project to the Vestry, and the Vestry consented to:
- The creation of a historical perspective of Holy Trinity’s property, and
- Taking up to one year to examine, explore and discern, as a congregation, ideas for future uses of our 10-acre property for future generations, especially toward fulfilling the Episcopal Church mandate of Care of Creation.
The Vestry agreed to use the initial report that Rich and Debbie are now working on to create a 5-year plan for making the best use of our property, and also agreed to officially name our property The Commons. These 10 acres are our common ground where we, as a church family, meet to worship God and witness to others His presence in our lives. Thus, no matter what unique personalities we bring to our worship, we are God’s loved ones in this common space.
Originally, the Vestry scheduled March 29, 2020, as the date to begin a discussion forum with the congregation about the future of The Commons, but plans are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and our Bishop’s requirement to suspend all on-site church operations.