The Farmastery is the residential community at Spring Forest, which includes three couples and three children. We have diverse backgrounds, education, professions, gifts, and skills.
Why Farmastery? We have some things in common with a monastery: shared residential life gathered around God through a common set of spiritual practices, living in community in two houses, and making our space and our practices a healing resource for others beyond our community. Unlike traditional monasteries, we are multigenerational and our community includes children. We also have a small farm and forest, which we care for and share with volunteers and others. The work of our farm is evolving and includes supporting refugee resettlement, the healing of trauma through shared gardening, and collaborations with churches and other institutions to provide learning experiences in natural farming and eco-spirituality. Farm + new kind of monastery = Farmastery.
Some of our professional skills and passions include civil and mechanical engineering, farming, pastoral ministry, cooking, gardening, writing, art, pottery, leading retreats, holding space, spiritual companionship, and more. Two of us, Francis and Elaine, are ordained Methodist clergy. Francis is a veteran organic farmer. Agnes is an agricultural biologist. Randall is retired from the county engineer's office and brings many practical construction skills as well as culinary arts. Elaine was formerly the Dean of Duke Divinity School and is now Theologian in Residence for the Church at Spring Forest and Abbess to the Community at Spring Forest. Charlie and Mary Kay are both engineers and lived in Ghana, West Africa from 2006-2017 before moving back to the States. Charlie lectured in mathematics and computer science at Methodist University College Ghana and Ashesi University, while Mary Kay helped the Methodist Church Ghana provide water, sanitation, and other community projects in rural villages throughout the country. Charlie and Mary Kay are our newest residents, who make their home both in Houston and at Spring Forest.
All of us love the land—both farm and forest—and are committed to fostering the well being of animals, plants, soil, water, air, and humanity.
A larger, local, non-residential community also participates in the various ministries and work of Spring Forest. They, too, bring a wonderful array of gifts and insight to our community. We deeply appreciate the volunteers who assist in everything from gardens to worship to website maintenance.
We are United Methodist and we are ecumenical, welcoming guests from other faith traditions and no faith tradition. We follow and love Jesus. Our simple set of spiritual practices, is: Prayer, Work, Table, Neighbor.
Our residential community includes:
Elaine A. Heath, Randall Bell, Lilly, and Rocket
Francis Kinyua, Agnes Kirimi, Abigail Kirimi, Daniel Kirimi, Annelima Kirimi
Charlie and Mary Kay Jackson