Story by Debra Anderson
There’s a sweet ministry going on at the Far West End church in Rockville, Va. Under the leadership of church member and apiculturist Valeriy Tsvetkov, congregants have taken up the hobby of apiculture—the scientific practice of raising honeybees or beekeeping.
Tsvetkov says, “The spirit and the principles of how the beehive functions should be a blueprint for how we can build community, serve others and start to understand that the spiritual work we do is part of an ecosystem.”
Currently, there is one hive on the church campus with the intent of adding four more by the spring. The church plans to use the hives as part of its mission to go “beyond the walls” to reach the local community by giving them honey.
Through the example of the honeybee, members are learning several lessons that apply to the ethos of the Potomac Conference. First, bees are communal. While they do operate autonomously, they do not function in isolation. Second, the fundamental mission of honeybees is “beyond the walls” of the hive. Just as the honeybee leaves the hive to collect pollen from flowers to make honey, Christians are called to collect the good deeds and words of God to make a sweet spiritual life. Third, the honey produced in the hive is a byproduct of the mission to go into all the world, spreading pollen and collecting nectar. That’s much like faith sharing among people with different spiritual beliefs.
By giving honey to their neighbors, church members say they wish to convey the sweet savor of a risen Savior. In this way, “beeing” a good neighbor is part of this unique ministry by the Far West church.
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