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The Benedict Option: Welcoming the Stranger

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Right now, we are witnessing the largest refugee crisis since World War II.  Hundreds of thousands of Christian, Yazidi, and Muslim families are fleeing violence in their home countries in the Middle East and Africa.  Thousands have already died at sea, untold others are dying overland.  Fathers are leaving home and family to make their way to a peaceful place where they can find work and a home before sending for their wives and children… and praying that they will still be alive when the time comes.

If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other – Bl Teresa of Calcutta

We must not be afraid to act.  We must be willing to take a different kind of Benedict Option: to be willing to open our doors to those in need – to families who have risked everything to find peace – to fathers who have left everything they love for a better life for their children.  We can open our churches and shelters, we can offer a room in our homes.  We can offer food, clothing, security, kindness, love, support in their efforts to resettle.  It is possible.  But only if we boldly open the door and welcome each as Christ.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them – Bl Teresa of Calcutta

We musn’t wait for there to be an epic widow and orphan crisis to extend charity and hospitality.  Families are precious and we must take great care to keep them intact.  Pope Francis has asked all European parishes to take in at least one refugee family apiece.  Surely, we can do that in America.

“For I was … a stranger and you welcomed me” Mt. 25:35

These organizations are helping to rescue those fleeing from the middle east.  If you feel led, contact them about making a donation or offering yourself in service.

Catholic Relief Services – Relief mission founded by the USCCB during WWII, is leading relief efforts throughout the Middle East and Africa
Hatune Foundation
– Sister Hatune is rescuing Christian women and girls from Isis in Syria
Liberation Iraq (CYCI) – Steve Maman, a Canadian businessman known also as the “Jewish Schindler” is rescuing Christian and Yazidi women and their children from Iraq
We Welcome Refugees – an organization that is working with individuals and churches throughout North America to aid and resettle refugees from the Middle East

It is possible that some of those refugees will eventually make their way to the United States, and we will be waiting here at Renaissance Farms with doors open to welcome whomever God will send.  You can help us to be prepared to extend hospitality, food, clothing, transportation and support by making a gift, shopping our online store, or by volunteering your time, talent, or materials to one of our projects, or as a full time volunteer.

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Workers in the Vineyard

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“The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few” Luke 10:2

Part of the mission of our farm is to provide the very best food for the least of our brothers and sisters.  Poor families find it difficult to afford produce and meats, let alone those foods and others that are GMO and chemical free.  Often, they are the ones who need those nutrients most.  Stress and poor nutrition, sometimes also drug and alcohol use, deteriorate health dramatically.  The children of the poor are often sick with diseases that were traditionally associated with the aged.  We know that excellent nutrition is key to health.  Every day we’re learning more and more about how good nutrition can often do more to heal the body than modern medicines.  It can reduce stress, increase cognitive function, and allow a person to reach his full potential.

We want to produce enough food to feed up to 100 families through donations to area food pantries and shelters.  The remaining food raised here will sustain our ministry through farmstand and market sales to our customers.

We are seeking twelve volunteers to begin working with us full time here on the farm this fall. 

Tasks will include:

cleaning and organizing (barn, milkhouse, etc.)
animal care (feeding, moving, grooming, etc.)
land management (tree work, brush cutting, etc.)
construction (barn repairs, greenhouse, etc.)
farming (sugaring, seed starting, etc.)

In the spring, the twelve will lead small teams of volunteers to plant and tend crops and animals, deliver food boxes, help at the farmstand or markets.  Experience is not required, only a willingness to learn.  Volunteers must be committed to hard work and stability.  Farm work is dirty and wet, it happens in all weather, and it happens every day.  But there is nothing we know of that is more rewarding – physically or spiritually.  No other work we have done has brought us into closer communion with God.

If you are feeling led to be one of the twelve, please send us an email at serve@renaissance-family.com