To Garden with God is Coming

The To Garden with God seminar here at the Mustard Seed House is only a few weeks away. We hope that you can join us. Or if you live on the Kitsap peninsula join us in Port Townsend May 25th. For details contact Pastor Coe Hutchison for details The increasing popularity of this seminar has amazed me. The news is spreading God does indeed love gardening and is revealed every time we get our hands in the dirt.


If you would like to host a garden seminar next year or if you would like to be trained as a facilitator for these seminars please contact me at for details.


Time to Garden

Its garden day at the Mustard Seed House. We will be transplanting tomatoes, and other summer vegetables, weeding and tidying up the porch (I hope). Our garden never looks as tidy as we would like but it produces lots of food – including these wonderful early greens (had our first garden salad this week).

Early garden greens grown under row covers.

Early garden greens grown under row covers.

All of this reminded me that I have not mentioned how you can be a part of our garden efforts here;

  1. If you live in Seattle and would like to participate in our garden days – good times of food, fellowship and gardening – let me know
  2. I have started over 120 tomato plants, and more basil and squash – obviously more than we can plant. Each year we sell vegetable starts as a small fundraiser for MSA so if you would like to buy your plants from us (sorry only if you can pick them up) here is the order form.
  3. And it is also time to sign up for the Spirituality of Gardening seminar on May 18th.
  4. Those of you who do not live in the Seattle area may like to consider developing your own garden community and perhaps, like other groups we are connected to,  you would like to use To Garden With God as a resource – lots of garden reflections, liturgies and prayers to start your garden days with. Even recipes to help you with what to do with the produce. It is available in black and white, colour and ebook versions. You can even get it together with Snohomish soap’s wonderful hand cream and garden soap in our garden bundle.


Still Time to Sign Up For The Lenten Retreat

Celtic cross - photo by Andy Wade

There is still time to sign up for the Lenten retreat. I am really looking forward to this – a great way to start this season of reflection and refocusing. If you are not in the Seattle area think about getting together with some of your friends wherever you are for retreat and reflection to kick off the Lenten season

When: February 16th – 9:30a.m. – 12:30p.m.

Where: The Mustard Seed House, Seattle, WA (510 NE 81st St.Seattle WA 98115)

The season of Lent awakens in all of us a hunger for deeper intimacy with God. Our world is alive with the presence of God, beckoning for our attention. Yet we are often distracted by busyness, worry and work.

Explore the simple things of everyday life – breathing, drinking a glass of water, running, picking up a stone or taking a photo – that open our senses to the God who shines through every moment and enlivens every creature. This time of reflection and refocusing is especially designed to draw us into the presence of God and prepare us for the season of Lent and Easter. Cost: $20. Snacks and coffee will be provided. 

Sign up here

Let Us Help Get Your Garden Started.

Bee pollinating squash

The garden is growing

It is garden season here in Seattle.

The front porch of the Mustard Seed House here in Seattle is already bulging with plants – some germinating on heat mats, some under grow lights, others outside in our green house. Last year we sold over 100 vegetable starts – tomatoes, squash, basil and greens. Friends told me that our tomato plants were the best they have ever grown. This year we hope to double our sales. We will also have a selection of other plants available for purchase when you pick up your vegetable starts at the end of April or beginning of May.

Plants are all grown using organic soil and fertilizer. They come in 4″ coir fiber pots that are biodegradable. Proceeds from plant sales will help us establish the Mustard Seed Village.

Please download the order form, fill it in and return it to us as soon as possible so that we can get your plants started.

Garden Seminar is Coming

This year’s Spirituality of Gardening seminar at the Mustard Seed House will be held May 5th. This year we have special discounts for students and alumni wanting to gain new spiritual insights and share gardening advice. It would be a great opportunity to check out the Mustard Seed garden, interact with our growing garden community and pick up your plants.

Register HERE today before all the spots are filled!

If you can’t attend you may like to follow along with the reflections from To Garden With God

And if you live in the Pacific NW and are just trying to work out what you should be doing in the garden check To Do In the Northwest Edibles

Garden Seminar In Seattle

Tomorrow is garden day at the Mustard Seed House and we are all busy getting ready for the Spirituality of Gardening seminar in two weeks.  We already have peas, spinach, lettuce, and Chinese greens ready to brave the cold under row covers and are getting ready to plant tomatoes and peppers on heat mats this coming week.

Levi and Robert are getting an early start on all our preparations and will soon be experienced urban farmers.

We would love to have you join us for a garden seminar –

here in Seattle March 5th, (full day)

March 14th AMBS in Goshen Indiana, (half day)

March 25th St Albans church Edmonds Washington (half day)

April 30th in Hood River Oregon (full day)

May 1st in Camas Oregon (half day)

May 14th in New York City. (full day)

We are still working on other possibilities for Port Townsend WA & Connecticut

Preparing for Spirituality of Gardening – Garden days at the Mustard Seed House

Friday was garden day at the Mustard Seed House.  It always amazes me how much we are able to accomplish.  Tom & I and the Rosario Kilmers, with the able help of Ryan Marsh and Vicky Hollaway and her daughter Fiona were able to complete the new raised beds that I have begun planting with cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli interspersed with greens, beets and carrots.  I hope that by the time the Spirituality of gardening seminar comes round on April 24th that there will be a rich array of plants to display.

One of the things I love about gardening like this is that it is a wonderful way to build friendships and strengthen community and of course everyone who helps has to be willing to help eat the harvest too.  It is also a great way to involve kids in community events.  Catie Rosario Kilmer has been my best helper this year and it has given her great opportunities to practice her writing skills as she wrote out markers while I planted tomato seeds

Her brother Gabriel is not as able yet but still loves to help his mother Ricci and me fill the seed containers with soil.

Gardening With God in 2010

Spring is sprouting here in the Pacific NW and though it may be a little slow in other parts of the US it is definitely on the way which means that those of us who are avid gardeners are ready to get out and start planting.  And the numbers of those who are planting has definitely grown since last year.  An estimated 9 million people planted backyard vegetable gardens for the first time in 2009 and probably even more will do so in 2010.

Here at the Mustard Seed House we are starting to prepare for the Spirituality of Gardening seminar April 24th.  This was so popular last year that we ended up holding 2 day long seminars.  So if you are interested please sign up early so that we can plan ahead.  We are already planning extra day long seminars in Lynden WA on May 22nd and Hood River Oregon (date to be announced).  As well as that we expect to conduct evening seminars in other locations around the Pacific NW.

Community and backyard gardening has been one of the major responses to our turbulent times but most people do not know how to relate their garden experiences to their faith.    Yet there is no better place to connect to God and the story of God than in the garden.  In this workshop, we will discuss the wonderful ways that God and God’s story are revealed through the rhythms of planting, growing, and harvesting in the garden. Spiritual insights, practical suggestions for backyard gardening and time for reflection will all enrich and deepen our faith as we explore new ways to connect to the God we love.

Each participant will receive a copy of To Garden With God – Spiritual Insights from the Garden and other helpful resources for organic gardening in the Pacific Northwest.  Next year I hope to conduct seminars in other parts of the country too so if you are interested let me know.

Coming Challenges in the Global Economy


I realize that most of you do not live in the Seattle area but for those that do I would like to extend an invitation to join us for the first of MSA’s new Turbulent Times–Ready or Not! Conversation Series.  We are planning to record the event so those of you who are not able to attend should still have access through the MSA website.

Coming Challenges in the Global Economy
with Phil Bontrager
a discussion of the challenges coming in the global economy and ideas for re-imagining ways to live and serve in changing times.

DATE: November 11, 2009
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: the Mustard Seed House – suggested $5 donation


Phil Bontrager, the CEO of Sauder Manufacturing that produces furniture for hospitals, universities, and churches, has worked with churches and church agencies in the US, Europe, and Central America. As a consequence Phil stays abreast of both the changing global economy and the changing character of the global church. Phil also serves on the board of mission organizations like MEDA, which provides micro-loans to entrepreneurs in poor countries, and has been a missionary in Latin America. Phil and Lori are active members at Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio, and friends of MSA.



A Second Spirituality of Gardening Seminar

Due to the interest in this workshop, we have decided to add a second workshop for all the people who have expressed interest but can’t make it on the 25th. Here’s your chance to join in the garden fun!

The Spirituality of Gardening 2

2ND DATE: May 30th, 2009
TIME: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

COST: $40 – $45, lunch & garden manual included


There are still a few spots left for the April date. Sign up today!

The Spirituality of Gardening
the third workshop in the Revolution Starts at Home series
with Christine Sine
DATE: April 25th, 2009
TIME: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
COST: $40 – $45, lunch & garden manual included

Do you struggle to connect to the story of God through morning devotions and Sunday worship? I believe one reason people are moving away from Christianity at time warp speed is because we have divorced our faith from the glory of God revealed through the natural world. Nothing makes me more aware of this than working in the garden. I read about the death and resurrection of Christ in the Bible, but I experience it every time I plant a seed and watch it burst into life.I read about the faithfulness of God to Israel but I experience it every time I watch the rain fall and nourish the seeds I have planted. I read about the miracle of the fish and the loaves but I experience a miracle every time I am overwhelmed by the generosity of God’s harvest.
In this workshop, we will discuss the wonderful ways that God is revealed through the rhythms of planting, growing, and harvesting in the garden. There will be spiritual insights and practical suggestions for backyard gardening in the Northwest. Come prepared to get your hands (and your clothes) dirty! 
Each participant will receive a copy of The Garden Year, a resource to help plan, cultivate, and harvest a garden throughout the year. 

Click here to register.

Fans Watch Followers Walk

Today we have walked with Jesus one step closer to the Cross – not an easy place to be in but one that is necessary if we are truly to become the people that God wants us to be.  My reflections this morning were very much shaped by Kathy Escobar’s new post Fans or Followers  partly I think because I am so frustrated by how many Christians I meet are fans rather than followers and I wonder what does it take to get Christians out of the pews and into the streets?  What does it take to make us followers and not fans?  

My reflections reminded me of this prayer that we have been using as part of our evening prayers at the Mustard Seed House  

Lord we have denied you

Each time we refused to see you in the faces of the hungry and the homeless

May the old in us pass away and all things become new

Lord we have betrayed you

Each time we have kept our distance from the anguish of the oppressed and the persecuted

May the old in us pass away and all things become new

Lord we have mocked you

Each time we have pretended we do not know how radically you call us to live

May the old in us pass away and all things become new

Lord we have crucified you

Each time we have failed to walk the path of Calvary

May the old in us pass away and all things become new

Lord we are lost and have strayed

Forgive our sins, redeem our lives and make us new

May the old in us pass away and all things become new