Common Life Church & Farm
Pilgrims voted at our annual meeting to support Common Life Church & Farm, a new church start, by acting as the fiduciary for their funds until they become an independent church. Here is some information about the new church:
- A Leadership Team of local community members has been meeting monthly since January. We begin with “dinner church worship,” which is comprised of a potluck meal set in liturgy and including communion. The second half of our meeting focuses on our work of starting this ministry together: outreach, setting up the farm, and, of course, fundraising.
- In early March, we launched an online fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 by July 2018. The funds raised by this campaign will be matched by a generous donor up to $10,000 for a $20,000 total goal. We have already raised over $1,400 from our Leadership Team and individual donors. Learn more and give at www.youcaring.com/common-life-church-farm.
- Also in March, we applied for a $20,000 grant from the Genesis Fund of the UCC National Setting. Genesis Fund grants are awarded to innovative or controversial projects. Funding is available for up to 2 consecutive years. We will learn about the results of our application in June.
- In April, May, and June, members of the Leadership Team and I will be traveling to churches in North Carolina and Washington, DC to build collaborative and mutually-supportive relationships. We will be giving presentations at Peace UCC Greensboro, First Congregational UCC Asheville, Parkway UCC Winston-Salem, Congregational UCC Greensboro, Elon Community UCC, and Eighth Day (Church of the Saviour) Washington, DC.
- Common Life Church & Farm has attracted the attention of the Southern Conference, which featured us in a recent email newsletter. Rev. Karen Richardson Dunn of the Creation Justice Network of the Southern Conference has reached out to highlight our work at a conference-wide event in Fall 2018.
- We are currently accepting applications for the position of Farm Manager to begin in July. The Farm Manager will be in charge of production using sustainable agriculture methods on land leased from TerraStay Farm, including 1 acre of open fields, 3 high tunnels for year-round growing, farming tools and equipment, 3 walk-in coolers, and a pole barn. If you have any networks that would be interested in this position, please contact me and I will share the post with you.
Pilgrims have also been working hard to provide technical support to cultivate this new ministry. An Advisory Committee has been formed of Leigh McNair (chair), Dan Barco, and Alice Ratliff, with Tom Heath (Pilgrim Treasurer) and Rev. Lindy as ex officio members. The purpose of the committee is to advise both Pilgrim and Common Life about our relationship, especially relating to fiscal sponsorship. The committee has made progress on the following items:
- Researching best practices of fiscal sponsorship, and beginning to draft a Memorandum of Understanding.
- Researching and preparing financial arrangements to provide tax-deductible giving for Common Life donors, and set up appropriate oversight and accountability.
- Assessing potential liability concerns and making appropriate preparations.
- Early planning for Common Life to lead a “Brunch Church” at Pilgrim this summer, and a gathering at the farm in the fall.
Here are 3 incredibly impactful ways that you can tend and water this new ministry to grow and bloom:
- Donate to our matching campaign at www.youcaring.com/common-life-church-farm, or by writing a check to Pilgrim UCC with “Common Life Church & Farm” in the memo line.
- Share about Common Life Church & Farm with your networks. You never know who may be inspired or where collaborations can form!
- Pray for our ministry, our leaders, the land, and our community.
Thank you for all your support of this amazing work God is calling forth in the world!
Pastor, Common Life Church & Farm