Q&A: The Rev. Nurya Love Parish on food, faith, church-owned land and the future

Nurya Love Parish may appear. He wrote a book called “Resurrection Matters” and was interviewed by Civil Eats, thinking about his Good News Gardens program last year about the same time as The Episcopal Church’s.

Thando Parish, who grew up questioning the wisdom of his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, began his ministry at Unitarian Universalist Church. In 1997, that job took him to Michigan, where he has lived since.

Its contributions include a community agricultural program, a group of older people and a monthly service service (currently suspended due to the epidemic). It is also ChurchLands, a initiative dedicated to mapping the buildings of the Episcopal Church and encouraging people to think about them with a rational mind.

“We are fighting in America to express Christianity in nature, justice and health,” Love Parish told the Episcopal News Service.

All other ENS and Love Parish interviews are summarized and organized in the Q&A below.

ENS: Did you think your job would be when you were younger and did you think about your job before you?

Love Parish: No. It started to become my idea in the early 2000s. By then, I had read Wendell Berry, and I knew that there was something unprecedented in agriculture and Christianity in today’s world.
ENS: What do people need to know about Plainsong Farm in order to be able to put it into their minds?

Love Parish: My husband and I bought a house in what is now Plainsong Farm in 2001. It is now 12 acres, two houses, two large barns and a double chicken coop. Before meeting Mike and Bethany, it was clear to me that God was calling me to start a farm service. Mike and Bethany hoped to start a farm that would connect them with the church, and Mike wanted to become a farmer. I was always clear that the service would be connected with The Episcopal Church, and that there would be unity. And a lot of things that I thought would happen have happened. I thought, ‘Maybe one day we can have a youth program.’ Yes, we have. ‘Maybe one day we can have a student community meet outside.’ We have that. ‘Maybe one day we can contribute to the land use of The Episcopal Church, and to the way the Episcopal Church views the world.’ We do that.

ENS: According to the census, who is pulling Plainsong Farm & Ministry?

Love Parish: It’s the youngest years I’ve seen in 20 years of practice. We too are white. People from Europe who are less involved in agriculture tend to like it. I hope that what we are doing will make people connect with food facts.

ENS: Some years ago you wondered if there was a Christian food organization. How do you answer that question today?

Love Parish: I first asked that question in response to what Nigel Savage said in 2014 about the Jewish food organization and how it hit Google, and how few people beat the Christian food organization. I thought, ‘I know there is a Christian food organization.’ Back then, it was small enough that I thought I could include it in a PDF guide and keep it updated. That is not true.

ENS: How do you define this organization?

Love Parish: People who incorporate education, the environment, justice and health through food and agriculture. Many Christians – including those in my church – want to feed people, because Jesus says we should feed people. The invitation of the Christian Food Association is for all Christians to consider how our food services can improve human and global health. Young generations realize that human life and the planet are the same. When they do that as a life of faith, that is interesting.

Love Parish: In 2018 Plainsong Farm, with some money from The Episcopal Church, worked with Greenhorns to create what I think was the first group of land acquisition trainers and religious leaders. And we have found the need for ongoing work in the area by mixing religions. By 2020, ChurchLands has hosted a group of Episcopalians, which includes biblical and practical purposes, as well as research into the Episcopal Church world history and future opportunities around the world. That team experience is on the other side of ChurchLands.

Another job of creating and mapping. At that first meeting of religious leaders and worldly scholars, I came to realize that the Episcopal Church does not know what kind of world it holds. I therefore propose the D053 resolution at the General Convention in 2018. I thought Church Insurance would have details about the Episcopal Church land, but it is not. Eventually, the responsibility for obtaining that information came back to me. By then, I had met Emma Lietz Bilecky, and she was interested in the world and at work and understood GIS [software information system] and mapping. Last year, we conducted a research project to help bishops in Arkansas, Indiana and Washington understand their areas with public knowledge.

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