Ohio church offers “rural immersion” mission/service experience

Is your church group looking for a mission and service opportunity? The Farmhouse at Fry’s Valley is ready to provide a weeklong rural immersion experience tailored to your group’s needs.

Based in the unoccupied parsonage of the Fry’s Valley Moravian Church in rural New Philadelphia, Ohio, The Farmhouse offers a retreat-style setting and an ambitious program that puts participants in the field, literally, to learn first-hand the joys, challenges, issues and importance of farming and of feeding the world.

When you stay with us in our Ohio country setting you’ll be able to…

* Take in the wonders of God’s creation and grow in your sense of stewardship of the Earth.

* Learn where your food comes from and develop gratitude for God’s gifts.

* Discover diversity in agriculture, from planting gardens to growing crops, keeping bees to raising livestock, tending fishponds to managing forests.

* Lend a hand in the tasks that nourish the world, from bottle-feeding a calf, to riding along on a tractor, to working in a regional food pantry, to picking orchard fruits and baking pies from scratch. (Farm chores are seasonal and not necessarily predictable ahead of time. We will connect you with appropriate and interesting activities.)

Additionally, you might like to…

* Visit historical sites significant to the history of the Moravian mission movement (Historic Schoenbrunn Village; Gnadenhutten Historical Park; Trumpet in the Land outdoor drama, etc.).

* Enjoy some of Ohio’s best recreational and tourism offerings.

For a per person weekly cost of $250, your group will stay in our simply outfitted retreat facility. Most meals and program costs are included in the fee. Our team will work with you to develop an itinerary that incorporates orientation to agricultural living, field trips, daily devotions and reflections, hands-on mission work and recreation. We can provide recommendations and assist with arrangements for other side-adventures you might want to try while you’re here (at your own additional expense).

We are currently taking reservations for Summer 2017. For further information and customized mission trip planning, please contact The Rev. Christine Johnson at [email protected] or 484-894-9077.

The Farmhouse at Fry’s Valley is a recent recipient of an IPO Experiment Grant from the Moravian Church, Northern Province. The grants are meant to encourage fresh thinking when it comes to four particular adaptive challenges facing the Northern Province: Identity, Connectivity, Leadership and Call, and Congregations in Context.

What does the Fry’s Valley congregation hope to learn through its Farmhouse experiment?

We hope to find intentional ways to connect with and serve our neighbors (the farmers who will be receiving assistance from our mission trip guests), and in doing so, we hope to build stronger relationships and a more robust community.

By tapping into the real-world expertise of our congregation’s laity we affirm their natural gifts and learned skills, and we hope this may lead to even more laity offering up their own real-world expertise in God-honoring ways.

By discovering that we as a rural congregation have something important to teach and demonstrate, we become emboldened to work for Christ’s Kingdom.

By offering pre-planned, well-executed, formative experiences in education and service, we hope to welcome many new friends into our fold and strengthen our ties.

From the April 2017 Moravian Magazine