If you walk through the Walnut neighborhood this summer, you will notice the street corners and many flower pots full of bright and colorful marigolds. On Saturday, May 13, several businesses, churches and neighbors came together for a neighborhood-strengthening event called Miracle of Marigolds, a day where neighbors and partners were invited to meet at the community garden to plant marigolds throughout the neighborhood.
Community Foundation of NE Iowa funded the flower-planting event through the “Bringing Neighbors Together” grant. Petersen & Tietz Florists provided 23 flats of marigolds for a special price and Spellers True Value Hardware, a local hardware store in the neighborhood, and Dollar Tree sold gardening supplies for the event.
“God is using even the smallest collective efforts to make a big difference in the Walnut Neighborhood,” commented Laura Hoy, Orchard Hill’s Missions Director and LINK CCD board member. “He is creating beauty and neighborhood identity through flowers!”
One of the goals for the day was to help neighbors meet one another by planting flowers and enjoying a picnic together. There were 52 participants that day: 16 children/youth and 36 adults. Small planting teams were formed with the intention of meeting a few new people in their group.
Orchard Hill Church provided the chuckwagon to prepare the picnic meal that day, while Scratch Cupcakery donated 50 cupcakes for the event. “It was great to see all of the neighbors actively working to help strengthen the Walnut Neighborhood,” continued Hoy. “Working together on a shared project while getting to know each other helps build neighborhood pride and identity.”
For more information about the Walnut Neighborhood, please visit linkccd.org.
For many years, Orchard Hill has valued sharing our buildings with the community. Offering our facilities to be used has helped us fulfill our mission of ‘Helping next generations encounter and follow Jesus to bless a broken world.’ This past spring, both buildings in Grundy County have been used to invest in the next generation.
The Grundy Center High School After Prom was held in the new worship center in Grundy County on April 22. Close to 100 kids, along with parents and volunteers, flooded into the new space to utilize it and have fun. “Using our facility in this way was the first step to being a place that is integral to our community activities, for everyone,” commented one parent volunteer. “I sensed that everyone was comfortable and felt welcomed to be there!”
The kids enjoyed a night full of bubble soccer, human foosball, sumo suit wrestling, a bungee run, a carnival, a photo booth, and food and prizes. “The kids had a blast!” commented another parent. “I’m thankful for being a part of a church that values reaching next generations far and above preserving carpet, or avoiding coffee spills.”
The Lincoln Center building was also the site of a youth event on May 5, when close to 40 Friends First students and 20 volunteers participated in their annual Lock-in. “It was a great night!” exclaimed Chris Henley. “I love watching students have an opportunity to pause and consider what Jesus did on the cross. One student talked about his experiences and frustrations with faith; his encouragement paved the way for a new level of vulnerability. It was a powerful night, thanks to the planning and preparation!”
The night included an Amazing Race scavenger hunt, a message with time of sharing, a bonfire, and great food.
For more information on Grundy County Student ministries, please visit cedarvalleystudents.org.