Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Echoes Blog

NYC Pilgrimage 2018 - The Farminary


The Fran Park Center for Faith and Life is celebrating Earth Week with many learning opportunities and part of this week’s offering is a lecture from Princeton Theological Seminary’s, Dr. Nate Stucky.  Many Park Center supporters had the opportunity to meet Dr. Stucky for the first time at his “Farminary” when we journeyed over last November, on our pilgrimage to the east coast.  We enjoyed the experience so much we invited him to come to Scottsdale to teach us more about his mission. Please join us on April 24th staring at 5:00pm to welcome Dr. Stucky with a dinner in our fellowship hall.  Following dinner, we’ll head over to the sanctuary to enjoy his lecture under the massive plastic bottle art installation.   The lecture’s topic is “Does God Waste Anything?”  Join us!  

by: Joanne McDowell

Dr. Nate Stucky, Director Princeton Seminary’s Farminary, asked – “Where have you most felt God in your life?” The answers were different for each of us, but often touched on the common thread of nature, God’s creations and an actual physical place indoors and outdoors.

My thoughts that morning we met with Dr. Stucky were too numerous to sum up in one sentence, but I mentioned a nature preserve near my home in Colorado and the mountains, in general. For me, mountains aren’t one specific place, any mountains usually bring me closer to God. Actually, that’s dirt, rocks and earth in piles anywhere… and rivers, streams, birds and animals that inhabit them too. To me – this is when I am closest to God… in nature. God came to Moses through the clouds on that mountain and He frequently speaks to me from my own backyard overlooking Pinnacle Peak.

God has also reached me in buildings from time to time, like the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France or, the York Minister in England or the Sagrata de Familia in Barcelona. Sometimes when I’m staring at the magnificent cross in Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, Arizona I feel the closest to God.

But, when we toured the Farminary and saw the fields, the barns and the gardens, the lake and the trees around which Nate has built a “church,” I was reminded of the fields around Bethlehem and Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee and the banks of the Jordan where Jesus walked and preached. Here he shared meals with his disciples and the multitudes. What Nate Stucky has started there at the Princeton Seminary’s Farminary has the potential to bring a different, but holy expression of God at work in today’s world. We can still turn to nature to find God’s magnificent works and to learn and listen for how He is touching our lives.

With all the references in the Bible to the vine and branches, to harvest and to the calamities of nature, the possibilities are endless! I know the outdoors is where God finds me most often – with my eyes on the sunset, my hands in the dirt or my feet on rock ground. Like Elijah, I’ll be in the cave, listening for the still small voice that comes to me among God’s perfect creations. AMEN.

PS. Did I mention that both my Grandfathers loved the earth and soil? One was a farmer in Iowa and one raised flowers (gladiolas and peonies) for the Iowa State Fair. My love of the soil and the mountains goes way back, all the way to my formation.

Click here to read additional reflections from the NY City Pilgrimage