Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, an official seminary of the Episcopal Church, designated Thistle Farms as one of the beneficiaries of funds that the seminary collects during the school year. Jordan Trumble, a second-year student and co-chair of the St. Luke's Committee (a student-run organization of the seminary), helped to facilitate the relationship between Thistle Farms and Berkeley. Win Bassett, a first-year student at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, spoke with her about the evolution of the new partnership and how serving Thistle Farms fits into Berkeley’s mission.
Will Bassett: How did Thistle Farms, located in Nashville, TN get on Berkeley’s radar in New Haven, CT?
Jordan Trumble: Each year, the Berkeley community designates the money from the offerings at its Wednesday evening Community Eucharists to charity. This year, under the auspices of the St. Luke's Committee, of which I am co-chair (along with Stephen Hagerty), we voted to sponsor three organizations: one local, one national, and one international.
Once we had decided what types of organizations we wanted to fund, we took nominations from the Berkeley community to ensure that our money would go to organizations and people whose work we value. The St. Luke's Committee distributed information about the organizations, and the community voted, ultimately selecting Thistle Farms as its national beneficiary. We also are funding Chapel on the Green (local) and St. Nicholas Seminary in Ghana (international), as well as a special project for the South Florida Haiti Project.
Will Stanley, another second-year student, nominated Thistle Farms, but it is also an organization known to many of the students here who view the work of Becca Stevens as inspirational. We also sell Thistle Farms products in the Yale Divinity School Student Book Supply. Many of us in the community (myself included) use their products.
WB: Do you mind providing an estimate for how much money Berkeley will be able to donate to these charities, Thistle Farms included?
JT: The money we donate is the money we collect during the offerings at our Wednesday evening Community Eucharist services. Based on past amounts, I would guess that Berkeley will end up donating $800-$1,000 to each charity.
WB: How long will Thistle Farms be a beneficiary of funds collected by Berkeley?
JT: Thistle Farms is a beneficiary for the 2013-2014 academic year, meaning that they will receive an equal share of our Wednesday night offerings.
WB: How do the goals of Thistle Farms fit into Berkeley's mission?
JT: Berkeley's school motto, "in illa quae ultra sunt" ("into the regions beyond"), is a phrase we often reference when we talk about ministering in the world beyond the walls of the Divinity School. I think Thistle Farms illustrates this attitude and outlook when it radically ministers to and builds relationships with those in particularly marginalized communities. Thistle Farms offers a beautiful and inspiring model for ministry.