Friday, November 13, 2015

Steve Taylor, “Inhabiting Our Neighbourhoods: Plot by Plot, Plant by Plant”

My practical theology of community gardens is now online, published by Urban Seed. It is one of 16 contributions, which are summarised here. They were all presented at Urban Life Together: Inhabiting Our Neighbourhoods, which was a grass roots missiology conference organised by Urban Seed on October 17-18, 2014. Conference contributors were invited to submit their presentations, which were then peer reviewed and copy edited, before being made available online – in order to enhance access.

-1 Here’s the summary of my contribution:


Gardens offer rich insight regarding how we might inhabit our neighbourhood. This paper considers gardens in Scripture, start, middle and end. It researches the development patterns of two inner-city Australian community gardens. The story of each is brought into dialogue with Scripture, including Luke 10:1–12 and 1 Cor 3:6–9. The insights from this dialogue between Scripture and two urban garden case studies is then enriched by consideration of two movies. Gardening with Soul is a documentary about an urban missionary who turned the lawn of her religious community into a community garden. Grow your Own is the story of a stranger’s gift that grows healing among a well-established British allotment garden. Both point to the power and potential of a seasonal spirituality. Throughout this paper, beginning and end, is also woven experience—mine—into the place and potential of gardens in mission and ministry. The argument from Scripture, case study, film and experience is that gardens invite us and our neighbours to become good, plot by plot and plant by plant.

In this small thing is all of creation! God made it, God cares for it, God loves it. (A Paraphrase of Julian of Norwich)

In some ways, “Inhabiting Our Neighbourhoods: Plot by Plot, Plant by Plant” is is something I’ve been writing all my life. It became words because I wanted to reflect missiologically on community ministry, specifically community gardens. There is my personal interest in gardening, woven with research into inner-city community gardens, Scriptural reflection and my film reviewing. It is online here.

Posted by steve at 07:01 AM


  1. Hi,

    I love the integrated understanding of faith and life that you share with others. Are you aware of Food Plants International? It is a Christian NGO that encourages the knowledge and consumption of local food plants around the world. It has a focus on the subsistence farmers of the world but it documents the 27 000 edible plants of the world.

    Check it out. God has provided such amazing resources for us to enjoy (growing the right plant in the right place).

    Comment by Anthea Maynard — November 16, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

  2. Thanks Anthea. Food Plants International sounds a great gift. It might perhaps fit with a theology of foraging, which I enjoyed practicing while living in Christchurch, in which one way to participate in the seasons and live local was to look for wild food,

    steve taylor

    Comment by steve — November 17, 2015 @ 10:51 am

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