Connect. Care. Change.
A Farming, Food Justice,
& Biblical Theology Program.
Join a small cohort of young adults to explore together what it means to follow Jesus in our time & place.
Grow food, feed the homeless, care for animals, manage forests, build timber-framed structures, and explore Vermont’s landscape, all while sharing meals, prayer, and the study of Scripture.
We welcome young adults with big questions, seeking to understand big issues like hunger, racism, and the climate through a Biblical lens.
Farming provides for the tangible spiritual acts of caring for creation and caring for our neighbors. Students will consider how they can use resources of our land while examining how their work impacts the land, local economy, and people.
Feed the Homeless
Our vegetables and eggs make their way to a kitchen that prepares nearly 1000 meals/ week for the homeless in Burlington, Vermont). We believe Biblical view of justice involves working to make whole what’s been broken.
We offer the rare and rich experience of living together with other like-minded people as we engage in meaningful work, worship, study and dialogue, recreation, and rest.
May 16- June 24 2023
In the Summer 6-week Term, experience:
Hands-on learning of sustainable, regenerative agriculture as you join in our work growing food for ourselves and neighbors in need.
Growth that comes from living in a community committed to exploring together (through study and practice) what it looks like to have a Biblical faith in our time and place.
June 25 - August 8 2023
Summer Term Students have an option of staying on to work in one of our summer ministries:
Christian outdoor experiential education
Sustainable Farming for our neighbors in need
September 4- November 10 2023
In the Fall 10-week Term, experience:
Hands-on learning of storing up crops, building a timber framed sugar house with wood harvested in our property, managing animals and pasture sustainably.
Exploring Vermont landscape through a wilderness trip.
Examining issues of food justice through discussion and visiting Vermont organizations tackling issues of food insecurity in unique ways.
In depth exploration and practice of what it looks like to follow Jesus in our time and place.
In the Spring 10-week Term, experience:
Hands-on learning of forest care and management, sugaring (from tapping, to boiling, to canning syrup), animal care in birthing season, garden planning and starting plants.
Students who have completed the Fall Term are invited stay on to develop an Action Project or fill a leadership position.
In depth exploration and practice of what it looks like to follow Jesus in our time and place.
CONNECT. CARE. CHANGE.
Come experience the change that comes when you:
connect in a real way with God, others, and creation.
care for others’ needs as we care for and nurture the land.
engage with big questions—seeking to understand how to care for big issues like hunger, racism, and the climate through a Biblical lens.
Leave with a more rooted faith: inspired and equipped to bring change to our world through following Christ’s peacemaking way.
Central Program Components:
FARMING & FOOD SYSTEMS
"Tending and Keeping" (Gen. 2.25)
While learning how to care for animals and grow food for ourselves and our neighbors, students will continually ask the question, “How can we make this place thrive for a long time?” Drawing upon the principles of sustainable farming, students will seek better, humbler ways of carrying out humanity's original vocation of “tending and keeping” (Gen 2:25). We will also examine broader social issues connected to food systems, hunger, and health in light of Jesus’ teachings.
FOREST MANAGEMENT & CARPENTRY
Biblical Relationship to the Earth
Managing our 200+ acres of forest in a way that it can thrive for generations, we harvest our wood for heat and building projects from our own land. The four seasons in the Vermont woods provide a variety of meaningful work from managing wildlife habitat to tapping our trees for making maple syrup. Students will learn basic forestry and carpentry skills while examining our relationship to the earth and community through a Biblical lens.
FAITH-BASED COMMUNITY & BIBLICAL STUDY
In this time of constant input and data, our program offers time away to ask big questions. Within the rhythms of community prayer and work, we dig deep into the truths of Scripture and discern how to follow Jesus in our time and place. Students gather for regular times of worship and guided conversations on topics of Christian community, discipleship, and Biblical justice.
Challenge and Restoration
Alongside learning and work, we also explore and enjoy the mountains, rivers, and lakes right in our neighborhood. Students will join experienced staff in cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, canoeing, hiking, and multi-day backpacking trips. We believe that wilderness provides not only exercise, challenge, and recreation, but also a needed space away from distraction for reflection, prayer, and spiritual growth.
Statement of FaithWe believe the Bible is the living and inspired word of God. In it is revealed the eternal, all powerful and knowing creator of the universe who is in pursuit of loving humans despite our failure and sin. We believe in Jesus Christ his only son who was fully God and fully man: revealing God and His truth. He knew our sorrows and struggles, yet remained sinless, lived the perfect life we were intended to live (but failed to), and suffered death on the cross as a redeeming act of love for us all. Jesus was dead and buried; but on the third day he rose from the dead and ascended to heaven (after being seen by the disciples and others). We believe in the Holy Spirit who God sent to guide his followers. We believe following Christ and seeking a relationship with God, gives hope and joy, and the pursuits of this life are radically different than what the world tells us should be of value. We believe the Church (as a collection of Christ-followers) is meant to be the body of Christ in our time and place, radically loving God and our neighbors (especially the poor and needy among us), until he comes again to make all things new. Even though we’ve summed a whole lot up here in a neat little box, we believe in the depth, beauty, complexity, and mystery of God.
Community AgreementCOMMUNITY AGREEMENT Preface 7th Seed is a residential community committed to following Jesus’ example of working for justice & peace, demonstrating love & mercy and living simply. It’s our hope that through our programming, Christians will experience a radically different way of living and gain a deeply rooted faith in the God of the Bible. We desire to engage in the restoring / peacemaking work of Christ, renewing spiritual relationships with God, social relationships with others, and physical relationship with work and the rest of creation. We understand that there are a lot of complex dynamics that play out within a Christian community living and working together. For example, while the 7th Seed is not a church, it is yet a community of Christians who seek to live according to biblical standards laid down by Jesus Christ for his body, the church. Or again, while 7th Seed is not a religious order, it yet demonstrates some features that are similar to religious orders, communities wherein, for the sake of fulfilling the community's purposes, its members voluntarily enter into a social agreement. At 7th Seed we call this social compact our community agreement. For 7th Seed’s community agreement to serve its stated purpose, it is crucial that each staff member to understand it clearly and embrace it sincerely. In joining this agreement we are, joining in a compact with other members of the 7th Seed community. If we do not wish to live under the provisions of this agreement, we should not agree to it. But if we do agree to it, it should be with the full intention of living with integrity under its provisions. Our Community Agreement The goal of programming at 7th Seed is to live, work, serve, and worship together as an educational community centered around the Lord Jesus Christ. Our mission as a community is not merely the transmission of information; it is the development of whole persons who will build the church and benefit society worldwide: “following Jesus’s example of working for peace & justice, demonstrating love & mercy, and living simply.” Along with the privileges and blessings of membership in such a community come responsibilities. The members of the staff of the 7th Seed community take these responsibilities seriously. The purposes of this community agreement are as follows: to cultivate an atmosphere that encourages spiritual, emotional, and intellectual growth. to integrate our lives around Christian principles and devotion to Jesus Christ. to remove whatever may hinder us from our calling as a Christ-centered community. to encourage one another to see that living for Christ involves dependence on God's Spirit and obedience to his Word, rather than a passive acceptance of prevailing practices. Affirming Biblical Standards We desire to build this covenant on basic biblical standards for godly Christian character and behavior. We understand that our calling includes the following: The call to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ over all of life and thought. This involves a wholehearted obedience to Jesus and careful stewardship in all dimensions of life: our time, our possessions, our God-given capacities, our opportunities (Deut. 6:5-6;1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 1:18; 3:17); The call to love God with our whole being, including our minds, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Christ-like love should be the motive in all decisions, actions, and relationships (Matt. 22:37-40; Rom. 13:8-10; 1 John 4:7-12); The call to pursue holiness in every aspect of our thought and behavior (2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thess. 4:7; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:15-16); The call to exercise our Christian freedom responsibly within the framework of God's Word, humbly submitting ourselves to one another (1 Pet. 5:5; Eph. 5:21) with loving regard for the needs of others (Phil. 2:3-11; Rom. 14:1-23; 1 Thess. 4:9); The call to treat our own bodies, and those of others, with the honor due the very temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17-20); The call to participate in the worship and activities of the local church, which forms the basic biblically-mandated context for Christian living (Acts 2:42-47; Heb. 10:25; 1 Tim. 3:14-15). Living the Christian Life We believe these biblical standards will show themselves in a distinctly Christian way of life, an approach to living we expect of ourselves and of one another. This lifestyle involves practicing those attitudes and actions the Bible portrays as virtues and avoiding those the Bible portrays as sinful. According to the Scriptures, followers of Jesus Christ will: "put on" compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and supremely, love (Col. 3:12-14); seek righteousness, mercy and justice, particularly for the helpless and oppressed (Prov. 21:3; 31:8-9; Micah 6:8; Matt. 23:23; Gal. 6:10); love and side with what is good in God's eyes, and abhor what is evil in God's eyes (Amos 5:15; Rom. 12:9, 16:19); uphold the God-given worth of human beings, from conception to death, as the unique image-bearers of God (Gen. 1:27; Psalm 8:3-8; 139:13-16); pursue unity and embrace ethnic diversity as part of God’s design for humanity and practice racial reconciliation as one of his redemptive purposes in Christ (Isa. 56:6-7; John 17:20-23; Acts 17:26; Eph. 2:11-18; Col. 3:11; Rev. 7:9-10); uphold chastity among the unmarried (1 Cor. 6:18) and the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman (Heb. 13:4); be people of integrity whose word can be fully trusted (Psalm 15:4; Matt. 5:33-37); Exercising Responsible Freedom Beyond these explicit biblical issues, the 7th Seed community seeks to foster the practice of responsible Christian freedom (Gal. 5:13-14; 1 Pet. 2:16-17). This requires a wise stewardship of mind, body, time, abilities and resources on the part of every member of the community. Responsible freedom also requires thoughtful, biblically-guided choices in matters of behavior, entertainment, interpersonal relationships, and observance of the Lord's Day. Additionally, part of our mission is to live simply: we will continually seek to humbly understand what that looks like for each of us. Of particular concern in a community environment with 18-25-year-olds are those issues related to alcohol, legal drugs, illegal drugs, and tobacco. While the use of illegal drugs or the abuse of legal drugs is by definition illicit, and the use of tobacco in any form has been shown to be injurious to health, the situation regarding beverage alcohol is more complex. The Bible requires moderation in the use of alcohol, not abstinence. Yet the fact that alcohol is addictive to many, coupled with the biblical warnings against its dangers, also suggests the need for caution. The abuse of alcohol constitutes by far our society's greatest substance abuse problem, not to mention the fact that many Christians avoid it as a matter of conscience. Thus the question of alcohol consumption represents a prime opportunity for Christians to exercise their freedom responsibly, carefully, and in Christ-like love. Likewise, 7th Seed community also encourages responsible freedom in other matters of consumption including consumption of material goods, and consumption of entertainment. 7th Seed assumes its members will be guided in their consumptive choices by the godly wisdom of Philippians 4:8: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things." Embracing Community STANDARDS To foster the kind of campus atmosphere most conducive to becoming the Christian community of living, learning, and serving that 7th Seed aspires to be, we have adopted the following institutional standards. These standards embody such foundational principles as self-control, avoidance of harmful practices, the responsible use of freedom, sensitivity to the heritage and practices of other Christians, and honoring the name of Jesus Christ in all we do. While enrolled in 7th Seed Gap Program, students will refrain from the consumption of alcohol or the use of tobacco or illicit drugs in all settings. Other adult staff members of the 7th Seed community will use careful and loving discretion in any use of alcohol. They will avoid the serving or consumption of alcohol in any situation in which students are or are likely to be present. Conclusion We, the 7th Seed community, desire to be a covenant community of Christians marked by integrity, responsible freedom, and dynamic, Christ-like love, a place where the name of Jesus Christ is honored in all we do. Keeping our agreement may also on occasion require that we take steps to hold one another accountable, confronting one another in love as we work together to live in faithfulness both to God's Word and to our own word. Such loving acts of confrontation are at times difficult, but when performed in the right spirit (Gal. 6:1), they serve to build godly character for both the individuals involved and the community as a whole (Matt. 18:15-17). Only in this way, as we are willing to speak the truth in love, will we "grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ" (Eph. 4:15). Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, . . . And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. — Colossians 3:16-17 Scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version. The Community Agreement is adapted from Wheaton College’s Community Covenant. Wheaton College states that they: “intend for the text and spirit of its Community Covenant to also serve as a resource for other institutions. As such, the Community Covenant may be used, adapted, or reproduced entirely or in part. In so doing, please cite Wheaton College as the author of the original document.”