Wascally Wabbits: Bringing the Generations Together In Mission and Ministry
Today I so pleased to welcome Genelda Woggon from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Asheville, NC, as my guest blogger. It has been my honor over the course of the years to know Genelda and witness her passion for ministry first-hand. I am confident you will find her writing meaningful and fun.
Who would have thought that a couple of cute bunny rabbits could bring together so many various facets of a parish family and community members for shared ministry and mission?
A small mission project by the children at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Asheville, NC had a lot of folks behind it. The children were invited into this project by the parish Episcopal Church Women (ECW) initially through an invitation to make laminated bookmarks to go with their lightly used quality books to sell at their own booth at the annual Rummage Sale. The idea of the specific mission project came also through the women of the church as they hosted a program about mission work in Haiti – called Consider Haiti, offered by the director, Dr. Tom Plaut.
Previously called, Mission Manna, the Consider Haiti project is a grass roots organization in Western North Carolina that provides medical care for malnourished children and continuing healthcare education for adults in and around the Haitian town of Montrouis.
The first vision of the need in this community came from The Rev. Stephen John Hines, a priest from our diocese of WNC, and son of the former Presiding Bishop John Hines. After teaching at the Episcopal Seminary, located in the 1980s in Montrouis (but now moved to Port a Prince), he was overcome with the tremendous needs that he witnessed. He began first by taking a youth mission team down to Haiti.
Growing out of this experience, 14 year old Maggie Lozer captured the vision for her parish, St. Philip’s Brevard to send down a medical team of physicians from their parish to treat the diseased and malnourished children. This was the roots of the diocesan project that came to be called Mission Manna.
With a growing number of area physicians from various traditions participating, the effort grew beyond the diocese to a general community wide effort and is now called Consider Haiti.
To address the critical problem of malnourishment of children, over the years a plan for sustainable nutrition was started. This is where the Wascally Wabbits come in – as they provide a combination of low cost high protein nourishment and a marketable product. And certainly, a sustainable commodity with their rapid reproduction rate.
Five pairs of breeding rabbits could be purchased for $100. When the children’s fundraising effort fell short by $15, a compassionate 10 year old lad dipped into piggy bank funds and surprised us all as he brought in his crumpled 15 one dollar bills! To everyone’s delight, he was rewarded with one of the boy bunnies being named Canter, while one of the girl bunnies was named Mary to honor all of the children from St. Mary’s.
In the photos above taken by one of the community volunteers, there is a little pink eared bunny we call Mary and the one with black markings on his back we call Cantor.
May these and other bunny pairs continue to provide sustenance for the boys and girls of Montrouis – a gift of love and compassion from our mountain community to theirs.