St. Alban’s Episcopal Church to hold farmers market; dinner on grounds in Bovina

Published 4:00 am Sunday, May 15, 2022

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church is giving new meaning to the church tradition of dinner on the grounds.

“Farm to Feast @ St. Alban’s,” will be held four Sunday evenings — May 22, June 5, June 19 and July 3 — featuring a farmers market and dinner on the church grounds, offering church members and area residents an opportunity to buy fresh vegetables and enjoy fellowship through a meal.

St. Alban’s rector, the Rev. Elizabeth Malphurs, said the program is being done in partnership with the Garden Farmacy in Bolton, a chemical-free farm focused on plants and orchards.

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“We wanted to find a way to bring some more fresh produce into our area because Bovina is kind of far away from the supermarket and there’s not a lot of fresh food this way,” she said. “We started working and developing four Sunday evenings when they could come and bring whatever’s growing in their garden out to St. Alban’s, set up a farmers market and then it kind of evolved from there.

“We thought we could offer some dinner and maybe some activities to draw people out to the church,” Malphurs said. “It’s become more than a farmer’s market; we’re trying to provide some fellowship after the (COVID) isolation of the past two years — a chance for people to enjoy our beautiful grounds.”

The idea behind the program, she said is to provide an easy way for church members to invite neighbors and for the congregation to invite the church’s neighbors on Warriors Trail “to come to the church grounds, not for a church service, but for dinner and for fun and not be focused on a worship service.

“We will do the worship service that morning so there will be no worship in the evening,” she said.

“Our main focus is serving the community in ways that aren’t always about evangelism and preaching to people,” said Carolyn Gent, a member of the church vestry and one of the planners for Farm to Feast.

“We have such a beautiful opportunity with the physical property of St. Albans — our beautiful grounds — and we have an opportunity to share it with the community and we’re coming out of the pandemic; we’re able to plan and do so much more as a community and being able to share that is super exciting,” she said.

Malphurs said Farm to Feast also ties in with the Anglican Church tradition of Rogation Days, which are the Sunday and the first few days preceding the celebration of the Ascension, which is 40 days after Easter.

“The Rogation Days are specifically a Church of England feast about blessing crops and farmers and all the vocations that go into providing food for us and sustenance for our communities,” she said. “Rogation seemed like a great tie-in if we’re having farmers come out to the church to celebrate farmers and blessing fields and giving thanks to God for the plants that are growing and ways that the people who provide for us to be fed.”

And as the committee planning the program looked at the calendar, members noticed that Pentecost Sunday was two weeks after Rogation and two weeks after Pentecost was the feast of St. Alban’s, and two weeks after that was July the Fourth.

“It was a coincidence but it gave us a focus every Sunday,” Malphurs said. “The first Sunday we could focus on crops and earth and farmers and the second Sunday we’re going to have a big bonfire because fire is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. We’re going to have a birthday cake on Pentecost for the birth of the church. It (the program) just gave us a direction to focus on each Sunday on how to focus our activity.”

The farmer’s market and the meals will be held each of the four Sundays. With the exception of St. Alban’s Day on June 19, all the meals will be free. Barbeque plates will be sold for $10 on St. Alban’s Day.

Besides the meals, Malphurs said, there will be crafts and activities for children and programs on different topics. The beekeeper who oversees the hives at St. Alban’s will discuss beekeeping and master gardeners hold a question and answer session.

“Our theme is ‘care for creation,’ so we’ve got different activities related to that,” Malphurs said. She said the church will offer neighbor discounts for vouchers for $10 of fresh food. Anyone, she said, can go to the church or one of the Sunday evenings to get one.

“This would be a way for people who need fresh vegetables to get them without having to jump through a lot of hoops,” she added.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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