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Harvey, Illinois

Page history last edited by Forgive To Give Project 12 years, 4 months ago

Read a terrific article sharing the recent work of Rev. Rod Reinhart, founder of the World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation (www.worldsabbath.org), who has dedicated four Gardens of Forgiveness in Illinois! Below the article is an interview we did with Rev. Reinhart - be sure to read his excellent suggestions and his amazing story!

 

http://www.southtownstar.com/lifestyles/fulka/941177,051108keepingfaith.article

 

Keeping the Faith

( http://www.southtownstar.com/lifestyles/fulka/941177,051108keepingfaith.article )

 

May 11, 2008

 

by rena fulka, southtownstar columnist

 

Home gardens are often family traditions.Many parents delight in teaching their children how to grow food and flowers to feed the family, share the bounty and dress up the yard.

 

"I believe when people plant flowers, they beautify and heal the whole neighborhood, city and world," said the Rev. Rod Reinhart.

 

"When God gave the earth to Adam and Eve, he gave it to all humanity. He asked us to take care of this beautiful creation he made. So we're called to be partners with God in the creation and preservation of the natural world."

 

On May 18, Reinhart will lead the first interfaith Prayer for the Healing of the Earth and Blessing of the Gardens at St. Joseph and St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in Blue Island, where he serves as vicar.

 

At the 4 p.m. service, Reinhart will bless the work of farmers, gardeners and environmentalists who heal the world by planting new crops and speaking out against pollution.

 

"And we'll say prayers of repentance for the way all of humanity has mistreated the natural world around us through the cars we drive and the factories and manufacturing processes that produce chemicals in the environment that wound the natural world," he said.

 

Music and prayers for the interfaith service were derived from Celtic and Native American Christian traditions.

 

Those who attend are encouraged to bring soil and seeds from their own gardens to be blessed.

 

"This symbolic blessing can help people feel deeply connected to other folks who are involved in gardening, farming or improving the environment," Reinhart said.

 

After the service, the group will parade six blocks to the Cal Sag Channel for the ritual blessing of all growing things and for the healing of all lakes, rivers, air and land.

 

Visitors of all ages can participate in the sacramental blessing of the water at the church and at the Cal Sag.

 

"This is an open-ended event," Reinhart said.

 

"Everyone who shows up will have an opportunity to say a few words about the deepest concerns of their heart. We want people to feel their voice is important and can be heard."

 

The event is being held in partnership with the Gardens of Forgiveness, a peace and justice program begun in the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedy at St. Paul's Chapel in New York City.

 

And Southland gardens will be blessed as part of the ritual, too.

 

Rena Fulka can be reached at rfulka@southtownstar.com or (708) 802-8829.

 

find out more

 

The Prayer for the Healing of the Earth and Blessing of the Gardens begins at 4 p.m. May 18 at St. Joseph and St. Aidan's Episcopal Church, 2453 Oak St., Blue Island.

 

Participants should dress for the weather and wear sturdy walking shoes for the procession to the Cal Sag Channel. The outdoor ritual will be followed by a coffee reception at Cornerstone Gallery, 2412 James St. The rain date is May 24.

 

For more information, call the Rev. Rod Reinhart at (708) 389-0733.


 

We did an interview with Rev. Reinhart, in which he shared some of his wise insights and suggestions for Gardens of Forgiveness (his responses are reprinted below the questions):

 

1. How many Gardens of Forgiveness have you dedicated? What is in each garden? What did the dedication/groundbreaking consist of?

 

I dedicated four Gardens of Forgiveness, two at local schools, and one at each of my churches.

I planted roses in all of the gardens. at the schools, I had large classrooms filled students

come out and assist me as I planted the roses and vegetables. I instructed them in how to plant roses and talked with them about the significance of what we were doing. then we prayed over the gardens and dedicated them in memory of peoiple who died on 9/11... and soldiers in Iraq... and kids who died because of violence in our cities.

 

We dedicated the gardens at my two churches

during Sunday services... and we went outside and publicly prayed over the gardens.

We also had a dedication of the Gardens of Forgiveness during the annual Memorial Day services at Lincoln School. Leaders of the city and the school system participated in

our dedication of the gardens. We took photographs which were published in our local paper.

We have pictures of the dedication on our web site.

The garden in Harvey is part of a larger community garden that grows vegetables for

poor and hungry people in the neighborhood.

 

2. What kind of an impact do you think the gardens have made in your communities? Do you have any stories of healing or transformation related to forgiveness?

 

The kids who helped at the schools and at my churches learned a great deal about how their actions can impact the larger world... and how things around the world impact them. Many of the kids and adults who helped me with the gardens also worked with me on building the

World Sabbath, the interfaith holy day of peace and forgiveness. The kids became more

active in groups like Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) because of our work.

Many of the people I work with became more active in the cause of ethnic justice and

equality. The principal of Lincoln School was promoted to assistant superintendent of

schools for the State of Illinois. His work with me on religious and racial reconciliation,

including programs like the G of F were a prominent part of his resume. My work with

peace and justice have brought new members into my church and has given me a

much stronger voice in the local peace movement. Secular peace activists see our

Gardens of Forgiveness as a sign that my church has a long and vital involvement

in issues of peace and justice.

 

 

3. What suggestions would you give to an individual or community about planting their own Garden of Forgiveness?

 

Don't do this work alone and don't do it as an afterthought. Make the Garden of Forgiveness

into a significant public project for your church, school or community group.

 

Make sure the garden memorializes local, national and international persons, groups and concerns.

 

Make sure everyone knows your garden is connected with St. Paul's Chapel and 9/11.

 

Make sure the garden is beautiful and includes both flowers and vegetables.

 

Make sure that you involve children and people from the community... and local

community leaders in the project... and that you teach them the significance

of what you are doing.

 

Have a public dedication of the garden, take pictures, invite the media, put it on the news and on your website. Use it as evangelism and outreach.

 

Ask local business and organizations to donate flowers and funds for the gardens

 

Ask other churches and community groups to be involved.

 

Always remember our soldiers and kids who have died.

 

 

4. What kinds of programs have you scheduled around your gardens that increase their social and spiritual impact?

 

This year we plan to hold an event called the Prayer for the Healing of the Earth and the

Blessings of the Gardens. We will bless the Gardens of Forgiveness and all other gardens

in town. We will have a parade down to the river and throw in holy water that all of the people

have blessed. We will have a series of Interfaith prayers for the river, the land, the air and the world. This will be followed by a party at the local art gallery. See attachment.

 

5. Why do you think forgiveness is so important? What have you found that's special about a Garden of Forgiveness?

 

We cannot have faith and healing without forgiveness. Jesus died so that God could forgive

our sins. Forgiveness is the first step toward reconciliation and peace. many of the problems

in our world are caused by our inability to forgive ourselves and others. We have had constant war in Serbia, Ireland and the Middle East because people hold grudges that go back many

centuries, When people refuse to forgive each other, there can be no peace.

 

Programs like the World Sabbath www.wsdayofpeace.org and the Gardens of Forgiveness

create a strong, public reminder that peace and forgiveness are possible, and

necessary and achievable. These, and other programs also teach a new generation

of children that they must take the lead in forgiveness, and not take the lead in

keeping old hatreds alive and passing them on to the next generation.


 

Rev. Rod Reinhart, founder of the World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation

(www.worldsabbath.org), has dedicated two Gardens of Forgiveness at churches in Harvey and Blue Island.

 

Read a beautiful press piece:

 

"Harvey church garden grows food, hope":

 

July 2, 2007

 

By Jim Hook, Staff writer

 

Tomatoes, greens, cucumbers and peppers rise from the fertile soil of a new community garden in Harvey. The vegetables grow alongside another tender cultivation -- hope.

Hope for residents to take ownership of their city.

 

"This garden has become a symbol of inspiration for people," said Rev. Rod Reinhart, pastor of St. Clement's Episcopal Church, 15245 S. Loomis Ave. "This garden gives people a message of love, order and respect for the entire community.

 

"They've stepped up to take ownership of the garden, and they've protected it from would-be vandals," Reinhart said. "They're proud of what they've done."

 

Inside the community garden, a smaller garden grows. But rather than offering vegetables and hope, this rosebush-filled garden offers forgiveness.

 

The Forgiveness Garden memorializes the Sept. 11 victims, those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan and those residents of Harvey who have died violent deaths.

Reinhart started the gardens several years ago after receiving the land through the city's "Adopt a Lot" program. The parcel once included two homes, both of which caught fire and were later razed. Borne of the ashes, the gardens were raised.

 

The vegetables grown in the garden are given to the people who helped plant them. And they are given away to senior citizens who live in the local YMCA to supplement their diets.

 

Mary Lou Smith has been making the trek three days a week to help tend to the gardens.

Legally blind, she takes public transportation from her home in Riverdale.

"I've been doing this for years," she said. "When I worked, gardening was therapy for me. So now I continue with the therapy."

 

Smith said the gardens started out as raised boxes until the land on which the burned homes could be landscaped. "This is part of our ministry," she said. "We take care of a number of people. And that's a good feeling."

 

Reinhart said he has spent most of his career serving urban ministries. "I came from Detroit," Reinhart said. "I've served inner-city parishes nearly my entire adult life.

"This is what God has called for me to do," he said. "With His help, I'll continue doing it."

 

Jim Hook may be reached at jhook@dailysouthtown.com or (708) 633-5961.

 

(The link to the article is no longer active: http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/451854,025NWS1.article)

 

More recent article about the churches in Illinois that sponsor the Gardens of Forgiveness:

 

"Programs offered: Weekly social night for pizza and prayer.

 

Members run the Spirit Quest youth sports program at Whittier Intermediate School in Blue Island on Friday nights. They support the food pantry and clothing project at St. Clement's Episcopal Church in Harvey, where Reinhart also serves as pastor. They are active in CASA, the Hispanic rights organization. They serve as the Illinois sponsor of the World Sabbath, the interfaith holy day dedicated to making peace among the races and religions of the world. They serve as the Illinois sponsor of the Garden of Forgiveness, a program started by St. Paul's Chapel, the New York City church that aided firefighters, police and rescue workers after the attack on the World Trade Center. Members also sponsor Faith on the Front Line, an evangelistic Episcopal church public access cable television program.

 

Plans are in the works for an annual Blessings of the Gardens and Earth Healing celebration, a summer Bible study program and for opening the church as a two-year field education site for Seabury-Western Seminary students."

 

http://www.southtownstar.com/lifestyles/854883,032308churchprofilestjoe.article

 

See below for press releases from the garden dedications:

 

The Rev. Rodney Reinhart

St. Joseph and St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church

revrod@stsjoseph-aidan.org

Cell 708.528.9862

Home 708.389.0733

For Immediate Release

The Garden of Forgiveness Comes to Blue Island

 

Schools and churches in Blue Island will soon be participating in the Garden of Forgiveness national program. Next Wednesday, May 25th, under the local leadership of The Rev. Rod Reinhart, students from two Blue Island schools will be planting roses in memory of the Illinois soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan and in memory of Blue Island students who have died because of accidents or youth violence.

 

Fr. Reinhart is the pastor of St. Joseph and St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Blue Island.

At. 9:00am, he and a group of staff and students at Lincoln School, on Broadway Street

on Blue Island’s south side, will plant and dedicate the first memorial garden. Later

that day at 12:00 Noon, will meet with staff and students at Whittier School on Maple Street in Blue Island to plant and dedicate a second memorial Garden of Forgiveness.

 

Fr. Reinhart will tell the students that people all over America, and in other parts of the world are planting Gardens of Forgiveness as a way of teaching young people that we must build a world of forgiveness, justice and peace. He will tell them how, in light of the current violence in Iraq, these gardens can teach all of us that forgiveness, kindness and reconciliation are far better than hatred, war and revenge.

 

The Gardens of Forgiveness program is uniquely related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Rev. Lyndon Harris, pastor of St. Paul’s Chapel, started the program. His church

is located just a few blocks away from the World Trade Center. Although so many buildings around it were destroyed in the attack, St. Paul’s Chapel, part of the Episcopal Church miraculously survived unscathed. Fr. Harris immediately dedicated his time and his church to caring for the thousands of police, fire fighters and rescue workers who converged on “Ground Zero” to search for survivors. For more than eight months, while Fr. Harris’ congregation met at near-by Trinity Church Wall Street, St. Paul’s Chapel acted as a national center of care and hospitality for the men and women who dedicated themselves to rescuing and rebuilding on the World Trade Center site. Fr. Reinhart was one of the many hundreds of clergy who to went to St. Paul’s Chapel to minister to the spiritual needs of the people who worked at Ground Zero.

 

Fr. Harris started the Gardens of Forgiveness as a worldwide program to teach humanity

that we must build a world of forgiveness and peace or we will be destroyed by hatred and war. For more information about the Garden of Forgiveness, please contact Fr. Harris through http://www.gofnyc.org/ You can also learn about Fr. Reinhart’s peace program, The World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation at www.workdsabbath.org

 

 

St. Clement’s Episcopal Church

15245 South Loomis (at the corner of 153rd St.)

P. O. Box 2307

Harvey Illinois, 60426

 

The Rev Rodney Reinhart

revrod@stsjoseph-aidan.org

Cell 708.528.9862

Home 708.389.0733

Church 708-331-6307

For Immediate Release

The Garden of Forgiveness Comes to Harvey

 

Two churches in Harvey and Blue Island will soon be participating in the Garden of Forgiveness national program. On Sunday, June 3, under the local leadership of The Rev. Rod Reinhart, The people of St. Joseph/ St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Blue Island and the people of St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Harvey will be dedicating memorial roses gardens in memory of the Illinois soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan and in memory of local students who have died because of accidents or youth violence. The gardens will also be dedicated to the memories of faithful church members who have died.

 

Fr. Reinhart is pastor of the two Harvey and Blue Island churches. The Blue Island congregation, located on the corner of Greenwood and Oak, will dedicate their garden

at the 8:45 am service. The Harvey congregation, St. Clement’s, will dedicate their

garden at the 10:30 service. Students from local schools will be invited to participate in both services. Names of soldiers, students and church members will be read at the dedications.

 

Fr. Reinhart will tell his congregations that people all over America, and in other parts of the world are planting Gardens of Forgiveness as a way of teaching young people that

we must build a world of forgiveness, justice and peace. He will tell them how, in light of the current violence in Iraq, these gardens can teach all of us that forgiveness, kindness and reconciliation are far better than hatred, war and revenge.

 

The Gardens of Forgiveness program is uniquely related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Rev. Lyndon Harris, pastor of St. Paul’s Chapel, started the program. His church

is located just a few blocks away from the World Trade Center. Although so many buildings around it were destroyed in the attack, St. Paul’s Chapel, part of the Episcopal Church miraculously survived unscathed. Fr. Harris immediately dedicated his time and his church to caring for the thousands of police, fire fighters and rescue workers who converged on “Ground Zero” to search for survivors. For more than eight months, while Fr. Harris’ congregation met at near-by Trinity Church Wall Street, St. Paul’s Chapel acted as a national center of care and hospitality for the men and women who dedicated themselves to rescuing and rebuilding on the World Trade Center site. Fr. Reinhart was one of the many hundreds of clergy who to went to St. Paul’s Chapel to minister to the spiritual needs of the people who worked at Ground Zero.

 

Fr. Harris started the Gardens of Forgiveness as a worldwide program to teach humanity

that we must build a world of forgiveness and peace or we will be destroyed by hatred and war. For more information about the Garden of Forgiveness, please contact Fr. Harris through http://www.gofnyc.org/ You can also learn about Fr. Reinhart’s peace program, The World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation at www.workdsabbath.org

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