On Saturday morning on September 13, members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn volunteered at The Food Project’s Lynn Farm located next to the Ingalls School. Working side-by-side with youth from the Project, they weeded beds and helped manage the massive on-site compost pile. Before getting their hands dirty, everyone participated in a game designed to provide interesting facts about how food travels from “seed to fork.”

“The Food Project is a fantastic organization bringing fresh food to Lynn, empowering youth workers and building community,” church member Tara Gallagher remarked. “It was a privilege to help them with their post-harvest tasks and to remember how much work goes into farming.”

Members were also lucky enough to take home some of the post-harvest bounty of squash, onions, beets, lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

According to its website, each year 120 teenagers from Greater Boston and the North Shore of Eastern Massachusetts cultivate The Food Project’s urban and suburban land. These young people participate in workshops, serve at local hunger relief organizations, lead volunteers on the farms, build raised bed gardens, and work with the community to find innovative ways to expand food access. The Food Project brings together a diverse group of young people across racial, socio-economic, gender identity, and geographic differences to partner with adults in building a more equitable food system for everyone.

“It was wonderful to see how positive, energetic, and well-informed all these young people are concerning issues related to food production and distribution. It is very encouraging to know that they will become the environmental leaders of tomorrow,” John Benson, another church member said. More information on the organization can be found at: thefoodproject.org

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn, located at 101 Forest Ave. in Swampscott, volunteers at The Food Project each spring and fall. As Gallagher, who is also a member of the church’s “Green Team,” pointed out, “participating in the hard work of farming helps us all appreciate the food we have and encourages us not to waste.” She noted that the “Green Team’s” focus this year is “Climate Change & Faith” and “how we grow our food and what we eat has an impact on the planet’s changing climate. Eating more plants and buying local decreases our carbon footprint.”

We hope that you’ll come out to the farm with us next year and get your hands dirty!

As we draw to a close on the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team’s focus this past church year on
“Fresh Water – Rivers, Ponds & Wetlands,” we wish to thank everyone who participated in the
activities we hosted. Those activities included, among others, a “Wonders of our Waterways”
presentation by Amy Weidensaul, Director of Mass Audubon/Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary;
a film screening of DamNation, an award-winning documentary on dam removal in this country
followed by a discussion of local dam removal; and an Earth Day service that was all about
celebrating water with song, stories, poems, and readings with the congregation suggesting
favorite hymns that relate to fresh water that we then sang together – creating a wonderful sense
of community. The year was capped off with a paddle on the Ipswich River in which 22
members of the church and family in canoes and kayaks enjoyed a picture-perfect spring day
celebrating both the river and church community!

While we’ll always continue to celebrate fresh water, the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team will be
shifting in the fall to focus on a new theme. Believing that we all have a moral, ethical, and
survival imperative to learn about climate change and to act appropriately and decisively, the
GSMT has chosen as its theme for the 2019-2020 church year “Faith and Climate Change.” This
is also one of the UU Ministry of Earth special topics this year and more information can be
found at https://www.uumfe.org/act/issue-areas/#climate-change. Across all faiths, there is a
belief that we have sacred responsibility to care of the Earth and be its stewards. As we move
forward with this new theme, we’d like to hear from you on this topic – in particular what you’d
like us to bring to the church by way of information and action. You can talk to one of the
GSMT members, or e-mail Toni Bandrowicz directly at [email protected]. We will also
be leaving blank cards by the Green Sanctuary bulletin board in the Parish Hall for you to fill out
with your thoughts. And, as always, we welcome you to help organize activities and participate
in them. Let us know how you’d like to get involved!

 

Faith and Climate Change

Wonders of our Waterways
Amy Weidensaul, Director of MassAudubon
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Sunday, April 7
Parish Hall at 12 Noon

In her presentation, Ms. Weidensaul will highlight the importance of our local waterways (rivers, streams, and lakes) to people, wildlife, and the environment. She’ll delve into the lives of wildlife that rely on freshwater resources from bugs to beavers and explore the watersheds as a source of drinking water as well as the issue of dam removal.

Ms. Weidensaul joined Mass Audubon in July 2018 with more than 20 years’ experience in the environmental field.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Hosted by the church’s Green Sanctuary Ministry Team with its mission of honoring the interconnected web of life by promoting environmental education and sustainability both within the church and in the larger community.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn will be hosting a Winter Bird Walk

Shake off the Winter Blues! Come join members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn on Saturday, March 9th for its annual winter bird walk in Nahant!

In the past, we have been treated to sightings of Snowy Owls, Common Loons, Black and White-Winged Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Mergansers, Scaup, Eiders, Brants, Cedar Waxwings, and Hawks, among other birds.

Meet at the parking lot off Ward Road in Nahant (off Nahant Road across from the Coast Guard Station) at 8:30 a.m.

Hosted by the Church’s Green Sanctuary Ministry Team with its mission of honoring the interconnected web of life by promoting environmental education and sustainability both within the church and in the larger community.

Check back for notice of cancellation due to inclement weather.

On Saturday, October 20, Bruce Campbell and John Benson, both members of the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team, volunteered at the Food Project’s Lynn farm located next to the Ingalls School. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, as they helped prepare a portion of the beds for a late fall planting. Working side-by-side with the Food Project youth, they swept away dried vegetable matter, loosening the soil, and spread compost—and got to play with pitch forks!

The GSMT will be organizing future volunteer Food Project events next year. “Sign up to volunteer,” urges John, “you’ll be glad you did! You’ll love hanging out with the community of volunteers from our church as well as with the Food Project youth.”

The Food Project’s mission is to grow a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sustainable food system. It produces healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs and provides youth leadership opportunities. See: http://thefoodproject.org/ .

The other day, while dutifully picking up trash in the wooded area by the lower UUCGL parking lot, church member Michael Celona saw something moving in the underbrush … what could it be? A snake?

From under the leaf cover, a snout appeared, then a prickly back … could it be a porcupine? It started to walk about seemingly lost and unperturbed by Michael’s presence (see photo). It shuffled over to the trash and started to nibble on a Dunkin Donuts cup and some Burger King wrappers. Searching online, Michael discovered it was a hedgehog! (What did we do before the Internet?) Sensing that this little creature could in fact be lost, and with the help of some other church members, Michael scooped it up, placed it in a box, and called the authorities to see if anyone had reported a missing hedgehog … No, no one had. Posting a photo on Facebook (again, what did we do before the Internet?), it wasn’t long before a woman with a thick English accent arrived offering to foster the little guy, which she explained was an African Hedgehog, a species she was familiar with as she had other “hogs.” Whisking him off, she gave him a bath (see photo) and declared that, aside from a chipped tooth and some ragged ears, he was in decent health. So, step lightly as you walk though the wilds of Forest Ave. … you never know what you’ll find lurking beneath the leaves!

The UUCGL will be holding an Animal Blessing on October 7th. All pets – dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits – and, of course, African Hedgehogs – will receive a blessing!