"Common Ground, Shared Roots" by Canon Mitch Honan

 “We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love that you have made known to us in creation.” This prayer of thanksgiving is taken from Holy Eucharist, Rite II.  The gift of creation and the love inherent in it exist alongside humanity throughout scripture, and the wilderness often serves as the setting of important change.  Indeed, God is frequently found in the wilderness.  Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I can deeply about the wilderness, and about the natural environment in general.  It is that passion that makes me so happy to present to you the Common Ground, Shared Roots project. 

This project is all about bringing people together on this land that we occupy together, and in so doing, healing pieces of land and thereby ourselves. Climate change can seem an insurmountable problem, and a problem that no individual person can even slightly impact.  Common Ground, Shared Roots invites all Episcopalians in our Diocese and beyond to dream bigger.  By simply following a few steps, and then planting certain seeds, even a small plot of land can become a sink that literally reverses climate change, while also giving animals habitat and food, and keeping more rainwater in the ground for the driest months of the year. 

Beyond any of this, consider the beauty and significance of bringing a small patch of land in our Diocese back to the way it was centuries ago! If that was not good enough, remember that this costs close to $0.00! This project has already begun to move from idea to reality.  In Mission, at the Bishop Hare Center, we recently planted the first of three prairie grass gardens that we will plant this fall.  These events are open to the public, and I encourage people to come to the planting ceremonies that we will do in Enemy Swim (October) and/or Eagle Butte (November). I feel strongly that Church is something that you do -- and for me that means caring for Unci Maka / Mother Nature and the people who rely on her.  

Common Ground, Shared Roots
 is a bona fide example of our Church in action.  Climate change can seem unfixable, but I will offer this project as a way for the people of our Diocese to get involved and make a difference.   If this sounds exciting for you or your congregation, there is a lot more information available! 

Please reach out to me at mitch@episcopalchurchsd.org (or 605-494-2020) or to Mia Werger at Mariawerger1@gmail.com and we will get more information to you. The spiritual meaning and power of wilderness can seem as distant as God can at times, and we therefore invite you to bring that a little closer to your home, and to your church home.