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New garden: Turning the earth to plant community

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of those who gathered recently to break ground for a new cooperative venture between Bethel College and residents of North Newton.

The project, called Sand Creek Community Gardens, is being planned and supported by a group representing Bethel College and Bethel College Mennonite Church. The garden will be located in an empty lot just east of the church and south of the Warkentin Court residence hall parking lot.

The 22 people who wielded shovels at the Nov. 9 groundbreaking included student members of Bethel’s Environmental Action Club; Bethel faculty, staff and administrators; Bethel College Mennonite Church’s pastors and members of its Creation Care Task Force; and former Bethel President Barry Bartel, who strongly promoted the project while in office.

BCMC member Duane Friesen, retired Bethel professor, North Newton resident and enthusiastic gardener, has been coordinating the community garden project. As he welcomed people to the groundbreaking, he read words from the Medieval Christian mystic, Julian of Norwich: “Be a gardener … Continue this labor and … carry it to God as your true worship.”

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