Inch By Inch, Row By Row

By Pastor Julie Hutson, Luther Memorial Lutheran Church

There’s a folk song, made somewhat famous by John Denver, that describes the process of planting and growing a garden.

Inch by inch, row by row, going to make this garden grow.  All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground. 

The residents of Ronald Commons had a dream and a desire to plant and tend just such a garden.  A set of raised beds made this fertile ground possible. Soon after Ronald Commons opened, residents began planning what this plot of community might look like.  Resident Joel Cochran put his education and experience to work in creating a master plan for the garden. Donations from the community, including three area Lutheran (ELCA) churches:  Edmonds Lutheran Church, Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, and Maple Leaf Lutheran Church, helped with the purchase of plants and garden tools.

Eager to dig deeper than a financial donation, the confirmation classes from the three congregations offered up “people power” as the Ronald Commons residents planned for their day of garden planting.  Eight middle school students and three pastors listened attentively to instruction on the finer points of garden planting. Soon hands were busy (and dirty!) getting the vegetables, fruits, and flowers into the ground.

Pulling weeds and picking stones, we are made of dreams and bones; feel the need to grow my own ‘cause the time is close at hand.

Along the way, the confirmation students enjoyed a tour of the common areas of the housing as well as the chance to meet and enjoy the playground with some of the children who call Ronald Commons home.  Staff and residents joined in as the sun seemed to bless the activity itself and the community as it formed.

Reflecting on Challenges and Faith in Action

Follow up conversation centered around the need for affordable housing in our area and the challenges facing both those who need housing and those who have the capacity to provide it.  We discussed Compass Housing Alliance’s future affordable housing project on the site of Luther Memorial, made possible in part by the generosity of the congregation.  We also noted that Edmonds Lutheran is considering a similar partnership and that Maple Leaf has hosted Tent City.  The students were so excited to see faith in action!

As the day ended, everyone gathered around the freshly planted gardens to bless the garden and all of the hands who had made it possible.  The students and pastors look forward to a return trip to Ronald Commons to see the fruits of their labors!

Plant your rows straight and long, temper them with prayer and song.  Mother Earth will make you strong if you give her love and care.                                                  

For More Information:

Pastor Julie Hutson,

Songwriter: DAVID MALLETT Garden Song lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, Reservoir One Music, RESERVOIR MEDIA MANAGEMENT INC Used here for educational purposes.