Planting a church, literally
Woofenden shares how she started a church in an empty lot in This Is God’s Table
“If you are close to giving up on the church, or if you, like Anna Woofenden, feel an irrepressible seed of hope for the church growing in you, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.” —BRIAN D. MCLAREN, speaker, activist, and author of The Great Spiritual Migration
When Anna Woofenden decided to start a church in an empty lot in Los Angeles, she had no idea what she would encounter. In her new book, This Is God’s Table: Finding Church Beyond the Walls (Herald Press, April 2019), Woofenden shares the story of what happened when she gardened, worshiped, and ate with anyone who would join her.
“The Garden Church,” writes Woofenden, “is the main character of this book. In these pages you will meet many of the people who nurtured, tended, and grew it alongside me. It has been my privilege and my work to plant this church, and now to tell the story of how it grew.”
Woofenden gathered the wealthy and the poor, the aged and the young, the housed and unhoused, to form the Garden Church in a once-empty lot. Together they planted and sustained a thriving urban farm, worshiped God, and shared a weekly meal.
“If this was where people were hungry, if this was where people were in need of being fed in body and mind and spirit, if this was where the middle- and upper-class people on the hill wouldn’t come at night, then this was exactly where we were being called to create a sanctuary,” Woofenden says.
As churches across the Western world wither, what would it take to find a raw, honest, gritty way of doing church–one rooted in place, nurtured by grace, and grounded in God’s expansive love? What would it take to carry the liturgy outside the gates? What if we were to discover that in feeding others, we are fed? This is God’s table. Come and eat.
Anna Woofenden is a writer, speaker, pastor, and leading voice in the food and faith movement. She is the founding pastor of the Garden Church in San Pedro, California, the founder of Feed and Be Fed Farm, and the cohost of the Food and Faith podcast. She serves as the Protestant chaplain at Amherst College and lives with her husband, David, in Northampton, Massachusetts. Woofenden is passionate about spirituality, justice, food, the earth, and community, and is driven by a calling to reimagine church. Connect with her at AnnaWoofenden.com.
Today is a great day to pre-order This is God’s Table: Finding Church Beyond the Walls!
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To schedule an interview with Anna Woofenden about This is God’s Table, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540‑908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.