|Ama Shambulia and R.G. Lyons|
Five years ago, R.G. Lyons, fresh out of Seminary, bought a house and moved to the West End of Birmingham, where 97% of the residents are African American and 47% live below the poverty line. R.G. had been appointed to start a United Methodist church there. He began with programs for youth twice per week, and expanded from there to bible study classes for their parents and others. Now, the Community Church without Walls meets in small groups in one member’s home and in the rooms of Urban Ministry, a mission of the United Methodist Church, with which R.G. works closely.
|West End Urban Garden|
The garden plots include two large ground-level beds, one very large raised bed, and about 18 smaller raised beds, some of which people in the neighborhood can rent. We also saw fruit trees (4 apple and 1 pear, espaliered to grow flat along wires), a row of blueberry bushes, and a row of blackberry canes. There’s a tidy garden shed to hold the tools, compost piles, and a greenhouse frame.
Similarly, Ama and R.G. think it’s very important that those who work hard in the garden are paid for their efforts. Both Ama and Myron are paid staff. This summer, they will be hiring two high-school interns to help with the gardening.
|April waters collards and onions|