Good News Stories!
Amidst the changes and chances of the COVID-19 pandemic, churches and entities throughout the Synod of the Sun have found ways to not only survive but also employ unique and beautiful ways to minister to God's people in need. In these settings, mission and ministry happens in a myriad of ways, from supplying basic necessities to caring for the environment. Connections have been made via video feed and blankets. Love is supplied from teaching inmates how to read to providing diapers via a drive-thru.

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How has your community found ways to continue to minister when "the church has left the building"? Send us your Good News Stories ideas! Contact Thomas Riggs, Communication and Administrative Coordinator or the Rev. Matt Curry, author and story collector.

Nor'Kirk Presbyterian, Carrollton, TX
Grow and Share
by Matt Curry
CARROLLTON, Texas – A Dallas area Presbyterian church and its neighbors are putting their time, talent and treasure into a Grow & Share Community Garden. The investment reaps rewards for the sowers of the seed, as well as those who receive the yield.
Like other churches, the Rev. Laura Fitzgibbon said Nor’kirk Presbyterian has struggled to find new ways to be the church in the midst of the pandemic. But the congregation has always known the faith community is about people – not a building.

“Now we had to put our money where our mouths were,” said Fitzgibbon, the church’s interim pastor. “Grow and Share Garden is the perfect way to engage the community, share fresh air and fellowship – all while helping the least of these.”
The community gardeners have donated more than a ton of fresh produce to feed the hungry, as of late October.
A message on the Grow & Grace website ( says that the ministry brings people together at a time when gathering is difficult.
“In many ways, a garden workday is more important to us right now. Many of us have cleared schedules and nowhere to go. We don’t get to see anyone’s smiles or chitchat in the office. While we still require masks for safety, the garden gives us an opportunity to see others, to move our bodies, and feel the sunshine. And we get to do all that while helping others.”
Dan Kinkade, who oversees the work, said the garden began as an idea to do something different during a 2013 mission committee meeting at the Carrollton church, which is a member of Grace Presbytery.

“I do feel like you have these moments when you feel like you are called to do something,” Kinkade said. “This is one of those things.”
The garden became a reality in 2014, and it has continued to grow, offering something to give to others all year around.
Grow & Share contains about 40 4-by-10 plots, which are leased for $35. The lease agreement includes a commitment to donate the excess, suggested at 25 percent. In actuality, the donation rate is closer to 75 percent, Kinkade said. About 80 percent of the current gardeners are not church members, yet some have joined the church.
“From the beginning, we wanted this to be an outreach, not just to our members, but to people who like to spend a lot of time in the garden,” he said.
The garden area covers about 12,000 square feet, and the harvest continues throughout the year, in sunshine and in cold. Some of the produce includes tomatoes, peppers, beans, okra and squash, blackberries, grapes, persimmons and papayas. In the winter months, the attention turns to root plants such as turnips and onions.
“There is a bigger need than ever to feed people. Besides that, people need to get together and work together,” Kinkade said. “We not only teach people what to grow, we talk about different types of plants, bringing the community together to do something that they enjoy.”
One of the recipients of regular donations is Metrocrest Services, which provides programs that lead to self-sufficiency and independence for individuals, families and seniors living in Addison, Carrollton, Coppell, Farmers Branch and Dallas in Denton County.
Claire Brown, pantry service manager at Metrocrest, said community gardens supply a critical need for its clients by augmenting North Texas Food Bank contributions with greens and other fresh produce.
The garden has given away 2,100 pounds of produce this year, about 75 percent going to the agency.
“The therapy of good old dirt alongside volunteers, neighbors and church members involves hands-on labor to contribute to those in need through Metrocrest,” Rev. Fitzgibbon said. “It has been a joy to embrace koinonia (communion with God and one another) in a new way, outside in the beauty of God’s creation.”
The Rev. Matt Curry is in search of Good News from ministries throughout the Synod of the Sun that are making connections with their congregations and communities. Do you have an idea to share? Send Matt an email at