Future Pastors’ Visit: Veggie Share #12 – Wed. 8/24/22
A few months back, a professor reached out asking if they could bring their class to our farm for a visit. The class was a group of divinity students from University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.
This request confused me somewhat, because I wasn’t exactly sure what visiting our farm had to do with being a good pastor. The professor promised they would only take 45 minutes of my time and that I didn’t have to prepare anything. They would come ready with questions and I just had to answer them. Intrigued, I consented.
I planned for them to come on a Monday at 11:45 – the time when we are just getting our Willy Street truck on the road. In my foresight, I had chosen a time that if I happened to forget they were coming, I would generally be at the right place to receive them and in a good space to do so.
I know myself well. I completely forgot about their visit.
After a hectic morning with a particularly large Willy Street order, I was just taking my first calming breath when up rolls a University of Dubuqe cargo van. Nine smiling people with remarkably kind eyes get out. When I tell them I’m not quite ready for them, an aura of patience rolled toward me. A chorus of voices telling me not to stress came my way. No problem. That’s okay. Take your time.
A few minute later I walk them out to the fields. I didn’t give a tour so much as stand with our gorgeous fields in the background and answer questions from these folks.
The individuals in this group were so thoughtful, curious, grateful.
They asked about why we farm. How our style of farming is different than the conventional ag neighbors that surrounds us. They wanted to know how our farm impacts the watershed.
They also wanted to know how we define community. They wanted to know why we give food away for free and why we started doing so. They wanted to know how we give food away to and why? They wanted to know everything about our food justice work.
I answered all of thse questions the best I could. The whole time in the back of my mind I was wondering why did they want to know all of this? What did this have to these individuals becoming pastors?
Finally I asked.
The response was beautiful.
The professor explained that these future pastors are drawn to the work they do out of passion for people and community. They care about the world around them and are dedicating their lives to that work. The professor wanted to teach these future pastors to seek out other people in community that are working to make the world a better place too. She wants them to seek out these individuals so that they can know their work and help build even stronger community together. So she packed these students into a van and drove them to Mt. Horeb and introduced them to folks working to care for the world around them to inspire them to do the same once they become pastors.
I felt honored to be this example for them. I feel hopeful for the communities these pastors might create, and the farmers and eaters that will be part of them.