Wednesday, January 25, 2023



Natalie Ward, JOY Market Coordinator (left) and Jessica Witt, gardener and CSA-manager

Justice, Outreach and Yoga For Creation

by Diane Waddell


We love it when a plan comes together! We are grateful to God for our opportunity!


Our New Worshiping Community, Justice, Outreach, and Yoga (JOY NWC), in St. Joseph, Missouri, is part of Heartland Presbytery. We started out as an ecumenical group celebrating and bringing to life Pope FrancisEncyclical, Laudato Si, in our community. This group is now a part of our JOY gathering, embracing justice and healing for Creation.


Our six leaders engage with our community and within our buildings sacred space (a beautiful little church/chapel). They are working on a CSA (community supported agriculture) offering, which includes wondrous baked goods!


Anne adds her beautiful native flowers, herbs and vegetables grown in her greenhouse. She often donates the native plants to our local parks and spaces where our group has been invited to “plant native.


LuAnn shares her native plants and expertise by planting native flowers in an historic park site (and has spent countless hours recycling cans and bottles after concerts.)


Saundra is a fabric artist. She dyes wool with natural dyes and spins on her spinning wheel, making lovely and creative pieces.


My granddaughter Elizabeth loves working with clay and has enjoyed making multiple items of pottery, which are quite popular.


Jessica has added a wonderful affirming and positive spirit to the market. She sells gems and jewelry and shares about their healing properties.


We are grateful that the community has been supportive of our efforts, and have found that the market is a place where vendors can commune and community members come together to share bounty of Gods creation and the gifts and talents of their neighbors. We host outside when possible, inside when needed, and sometimes both, depending on the weather.


We are so appreciative of the PCUSA and grassroots groups, including Presbyterians for Earth Care. We have chosen to ground ourselves in Matthew 25 and also receive the four offerings offered by the denomination. We have shared programs on sustainable farming, such as a review of Kiss the Ground,” and enjoy partnering with another ecumenical group in Kansas City called Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition for more programs on sustainable agriculture and creation care.


Diane Waddell is former moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care.

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