30 Years in 30 Days

In 2021, Seeds of Hope celebrated its 30th year since moving to Texas.  (For more about the history of Seeds, click here).  To celebrate, we posted photos and testimonies from volunteers, council members, staff members and interns about their experience with Seeds. We also posted photos from anniversaries and other milestones.  There was an entry every day for 30 days, so we called it “30 Years in 30 Days.”  (We actually kept posting for a few days afterwards as well.) Below are the posts.

Jessica Foumena (now Kempton) came to Seeds, as she writes below, as a Master of International Journalism student. Hailing from Cameroon, she brought a unique perspective to our publications. Her doctoral work at Texas Tech University centered around empowering African womens’ voices through digital storytelling. Based in Chimayo, NM, she now teaches online communications courses at various universities. In 2020, Jessica returned to Seeds as our Africa specialist and has already contributed award-winning work. Here’s what she wrote about her internship at Seeds:

Eight years ago, during my Spring 2013 semester at Baylor University, I completed an editorial internship at Seeds as part of my work for a Master of International Journalism (MIJ) degree from Baylor University. I had no idea how much fun and how educational my internship would be! I think I can safely say this was my favorite internship of all time. Ms. Katie Cook, my field supervisor, listened endlessly to my grandiose ideas about how I would go about changing the world when I graduated. She gave me space and time needed to write articles on poverty, hunger, and my home continent of Africa. Throughout the process, I learned a great deal about all three. I felt so much smarter (!) after writing each article for Seeds, and very proud to know that my thoughts would be read by so many people. I went with Katie on field trips in the Waco, TX, area, where I was able to put faces on what I knew about poverty and hunger in the US. In 2020, my belief in the Seeds mission brought me back to reconnect with Ms. Katie and to volunteer as an editorial team member and Africa specialist for Hunger News & Hope. So glad I did, because I can now claim to be an award-winning writer! (My article, “Covid-19 & Minoritized Populations” was the feature article in the HNH Fall 2020 issue by that name. It won the Associated Church Press Award of Merit for a theme issue.) ~ Jessica Foumena Kempton, Ph.D. (@drjesskempton) (Photo by Raylene Silver.)

Grayson Wolf, a Waco, TX, native, was the Summer 2015 intern at Seeds. As a Religion and English major at Baylor, he was able to work as much on biblical and historical research for the Sacred Seasons worship packets as he did on news stories for Hunger News & Hope. Having graduated from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, MO, he is now working as a public defender in San Joaquin County, CA. Here’s what he wrote about working with Seeds:

I am very grateful for my stint at Seeds of Hope. While there, I witnessed the ever-present needs of the hungry, the poor and the underprivileged. However, service to these people is ever rewarding. The mission of Seeds reinforces my convictions that empathy requires action, that justice demands mercy.

I now work with indigent clients in the criminal justice system, so I have opportunity to reflect on these lessons often. Many of the above societal ills are under a microscope, and it can be overwhelming. However, Seeds of Hope gives me peace as I know that countless others are working to help the needy in countless other capacities.

Thank you to all who have helped make Seeds of Hope happen; it is so very necessary. I would like to part with one final admonition to myself and to others: We must take extra care to not believe ourselves more deserving of grace than are those we serve.  (Photo by Katie Cook.)

Chelle Morton (her byline usually says Dawn Michell Michals) is the Social Media Editor for Seeds—and one of the award-winning writers for Hunger News & Hope. Her daughter Izzie is our youngest volunteer. She helps with mailings and other tasks, all done while dancing and singing around the office. Izzie says her favorite things about the office are pink cookies and licorice jelly beans. Chelle has worked for many years with the McLennan County Hunger Coalition and the Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition. Here’s what Chelle wrote about working for Seeds:

I’ve been a writer and editor for about 25 years, and I’ve worked with hunger issues for a long time as well, so merging these two things are a perfect fit for me. (Photo by Katie Cook.)


Claire McKeever-Burgett was an official Professional Writing intern at Seeds in 2004, but she began as a volunteer editorial assistant in 2001. During her time at Seeds, she wrote worship resources as well as news stories and was an invaluable assistant in many undertakings. She went on after Baylor graduation to intern at Sojourners magazine in Washington, DC, and then to attend Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN. While she was in Nashville, she completed a pastoral internship at Glendale Baptist Church, a partner church to the Seeds ministry in many ways. Claire is now an author and spiritual leader who has dedicated her career to bridging spirituality and social justice. She has served as clergy, led congregations, and facilitated transformative writing, movement, and liturgical practices centered on healing and embodiment. She has recently published a book, Blessed Are the Women: Naming & Reclaiming Women’s Stories from the Gospels. She also writes a regular blog on the same subject. You can find both at www.clairemckeeverburgett.com. Here’s what she wrote for our 30th anniversary postings:

From the time I set foot in Waco in the late summer of 2001 to the time I left in May 2004, I interned, wrote, researched, and learned at Seeds of Hope Publishers. A professor of mine connected me with Katie Cook saying, “Katie’s kindred,” and my professor was definitely right. At Seeds, with Katie as my guide, I learned how to make a pot of coffee (not a task to undermine, ever), how to research a story, how to write a first and second and third draft until you get it right, how to listen, how to show up and explore. My work at Seeds laid the foundation for me to work at Sojourners magazine in Washington, DC, then at food justice nonprofits in Austin, TX, and then to engage graduate studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, where I received a Master of Divinity and was ordained as Alliance of Baptist clergy in 2011. Writing has saved my life on more than one occasion, and I’m convinced it’s the writing I learned to craft at Seeds that gave me oxygen and necessary inspiration to follow my call as a pastor, writer, and poet. I currently serve at The Upper Room in Nashville, TN, where daily I help tell their stories in compelling ways. Throughout the past 17 years, through many jobs, many callings, many ways, Seeds has never once left my resume, serving as the foundation of a bright and bold beginning as a writer and as a pastor.

Ellen Kuniyuki Brown stepped into the position of copy editor for Seeds of Hope serendipitously. She had just completed a volunteer gig and was looking for something else in which to be involved and mentioned it in passing to Katie Cook. The result was being asked if she’d like to try her hand at copy editing for Seeds, to which Ellen replied, smiling, that she was picky. Katie immediately responded, “That’s why I want you!”

Ellen retired from Baylor University after being the archivist in The Texas Collection for 39 years. Her volunteer interests have included being a construction volunteer with Waco Habitat for Humanity, the salad maker at the Gospel Café, a member of the Lake Shore Baptist Church food pantry group, and a “ferret” for the Act Locally Waco e-newsletter. She has edited Waco Heritage & History, proofread text for several books, and served as managing editor for Texas Baptist History: The Journal of the Texas Baptist Historical Society. She says she feels blessed to be involved with Seeds. (Photo by Katie Cook.)


Alyssa Miller (left) and Elizabeth Arnold were Seeds interns in the Spring of 2014. In addition to all of the work they did on publications, they also worked on the highly acclaimed “Chili Challenge & Cupcake Throwdown” fundraiser. They designed and ordered the shirts and mugs in this photo, as well as name tags, signs and thank you letters. We couldn’t have done it without them!  (Photo by Ashley Thornton.)


Rev. Alec Ylitalo joined the Sacred Seasons liturgical team in the spring of 2019. Alec was born in Montana and grew up in Longview, TX. After attending Baylor University, he earned a Masters of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and then was ordained into the ministry by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He now serves as Senior Minister at Richfield Christian Church in Waco, TX, and is a past president of the Greater Waco Interfaith Council. He has been active for years in supporting local social assistance programs and is a natural fit for our liturgical team. Here’s what he says about working with the liturgical team:

I appreciate working together to create cross-denominational liturgies focusing on the call to serve the least of these. (Photo courtesy of Alec Ylitalo.)


This photo shows the Seeds Council of Stewards celebrating our 23rd anniversary (following a very challenging year) with cake. At this point, Seeds was climbing out of several years of financial struggle and celebrating the fact that we were still here and the resources were still flowing to the people who need them. Ashley Thornton of Act Locally Waco, a former Council member, came to this June 2014 meeting and immortalized a joyful moment. (Clockwise from left: Meg Cullar, Sally Askins, Ed Wainright, Sandy Londos, Deborah Harris, Derek Dodson, Michael Long. Middle with cake: editor Katie Cook. Photo by Ashley Thornton.)


Bill Hughes has been our volunteer librarian since February 2010. He came to us from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). He started by shelving and cataloguing 1,176 books, notebooks, videos and magazines. He then shelved and alphabetized more than 10 year’s worth of periodicals that we keep for reference. Once he finished that, he indexed and organized back issues of Seeds Magazine and Sprouts (1979-1998), Hunger News & Hope and Sacred Seasons—all of which amount to thousands of entries. Then he organized and indexed all of the art that has been created for Seeds since the ministry moved to Texas—more than a thousand pieces. The only drawback about Bill’s assignment here is that he keeps working himself out of a job! (Photo by Katie Cook.)




Christopher Bryan worked at Seeds for two semesters in 1996 as an intern from the Baylor University Interdisciplinary Core. After his internship, he continued as a volunteer for Seeds until he graduated as the highest ranking Arts and Sciences student in his class. He now practices law in Aspen, CO.


Working at Seeds was one of the most life-affirming—and life-changing—experiences I have had. During my college years, in the throes of rapid and dynamic personal and intellectual change, the very real education that I received working with Katie Cook and the Seeds staff shocked and persuaded my soul to awaken from its sleepwalking ways. The Seeds ministry succeeds not only because it contributes invaluable resources in the social justice movement but also because it exemplifies, in everyone who is touched by it, the Christian model of empathy, concern for others and love for fellow humanity. It is not often that I can say that I am a better person because of certain experiences. My internship at Seeds, however, is one of them. (Photo courtesy of Garfield & Hecht, Attorneys at Law in Aspen, CO.)


Below are comments from an Associated Church Press judge, upon selecting Hunger News & Hope for a Best in Class award:




Hunger News & Hope is informative and passionate on a crucial topic. It shows good maneuvering in perilous territory between politics and faith with very effective, accessible reporting. Clear-eyed, but not cynical.





Robert Darden, a professor in Baylor University’s Journalism, Public Relations and New Media department, was a friend of our ministry even before the Waco office was officially open. He drew illustrations for Roots of Hope, our first publication. He created cover art for Seeds when it was a magazine and for Sacred Seasons. He has written thoughtful pieces about the true meaning of Christian social ministry. When he was teaching Professional Writing at Baylor, he sent us our some of our very first interns. In this photo, he is (once again) acting as emcee at one of our fundraisers. Here’s what he wrote:

It occurs to me that I’ve been affiliated with Seeds in one way or another for three decades now…and few realizations give me more pleasure than to know that I’ve been a part (even if an infinitesimal one) of something as worthwhile and courageous as this magazine/organization. Seeds continues to fight the good fight. It is a mission based on the simplest of precepts: While even one of God’s creatures goes to bed hungry, we’re all lessened and we’re all to blame. And through it all, Seeds continues to repeat the message of the Scriptures: we all can—and SHOULD—do something about it.” (Photo by Leslie Rosencrans.)


In the Spring of 2014, Seeds hosted a “Chili Challenge & Cupcake Throwdown” fundraiser. The event was a rousing success, and was enhanced by the Seventh & James youth (known as the James Gang), who acted as hosts. (Photo by Ashley Thornton.)





Erin Conaway grew up in Midland, TX. He graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and George W. Truett Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity. Erin served for nine years as associate pastor of South Main Baptist Church in Houston. He came in August of 2011 to serve as Pastor at Seventh & James Baptist Church, where the Seeds offices are housed. After editor Katie Cook and liturgist Guiherme Almeida came to him a number of times to get unstuck in creating themes for Sacred Seasons, we drafted him to form a liturgical team to do real, systematic planning for the packets. In addition to providing inspirational content, Erin has helped with fundraisers, twice literally staying up all night smoking brisket for our “Holy Smoke Take-out” events. Here’s what he said about working with Seeds:

I am passionate about Seeds because of our constant need to be reminded about our hungry neighbors. When my son and daughter were kids, they would pray every night, “Lord be with all the little children who didn’t get enough to eat today.” I hope to be as spiritual as my children some day, and Seeds keeps me on that path.

Early in the summer of 2018, Seeds partnered with the Baylor School of Education’s Freedom School to create a learning track for reporting about hunger. (The Freedom School curriculum comes from the Children’s Defense Fund and is inspired by the Freedom Schools of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.) Our learning track involved meeting with the scholars once a week and guiding them as they wrote about local hunger agencies they had visited. The end product of the product was the newsletter Freedom School Press. This photo shows two of the scholars interviewing Sherry Castello about the Gospel Cafe, where she organizes meals for hungry people.



Guilherme Feitosa de Almeida, shown here at a Seeds fundraiser, is Senior Lecturer in Musical Theater at Baylor University. He is an ordained Baptist minister. Almeida earned his Bachelor of Sacred Music from the North Brazil Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Master of Music from Baylor University. He served in base communities of Northeast Brazil as a pastoral musician and liturgist. He serves globally as music director, performer, liturgist and consultant. Research interest includes Interdisciplinarity in the Arts and Humanities, especially the connections between justice, spirituality and performance theory. A member of the Seeds Council of Stewards, he serves on the Sacred Seasons liturgical team and is our resident liturgist. In 2019, he traveled with a Seeds team to Tbilisi, Georgia, where he conducted a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop. Here’s what he says about working with Seeds:

Seeds of Hope Publishers occupies a unique place in spiritual formation and liturgical practices. It has been an incredible honor to serve on the Council and write for Seeds! I have encountered a community of practitioners that is committed to the ongoing work of combating food insecurity through pastoral leadership and developing an identity of formational advocacy. Thank you, Seeds, for remaining faithful to this calling!





Over the years, Seeds staff and volunteers conducted a workshop called “Hunger in God’s World” (HIGW) for seminary classes, confirmation classes, youth groups and all-church groups. (For a description or to download the HIGW curriculum, go to www.seedspublishers.org/hunger-in-gods-world.) This shows Katie Cook conducting the workshop at Greater Bosqueville Baptist Church (GBBC) in Bosqueville, TX. This is the “Where Are People Hungry?” exercise, in which students find and mark on a map the countries and regions where they know people are hungry. The photo was taken by GBBC children & youth minister Syeeda Echols.






In 2016, Seeds hosted an evening of “Hotcakes & Hymns” as a fundraiser. Using very old hymnals, the crowd requested hymns and sang with gusto, as you can see in this collage. The first event went over so well that people pressed us to have another, which we did in 2018. The pianist pictured here is Guilherme Almeida, a member of the Council of Stewards and our liturgist in residence.







John Garland volunteered at Seeds through high school and college, from 1996 to 2004, writing worship materials and news stories, and doing anything else that was required. He now pastors the San Antonio Mennonite Church, which has been a shelter for literally hundreds of Central American asylum seekers since December 2016. This photo was taken by Marv Knox for Fellowship Southwest.


Here’s what John wrote about Seeds:



The work that goes on at Seeds, the passion for justice, the mourning for the world’s brokenness, the worship of God, the affirmation of God’s grace—and the words of promise, blessing and hope spoken in the midst of it all—helped direct my own developing struggle and hunger for righteousness. My own answers to emptiness, vulnerability and anger were mercifully scrambled; I was touched by a search for the voice of God’s moving, hopeful spirit.


Jonathan Hal Reynolds was a Professional Writing intern for Seeds during the academic year 2004-2005. Still based in Waco, he is now a writer of some note, having published a number of books and films. This photo shows him holding one of his children’s books. Here’s what he wrote about his internship experience:

Working with Katie Cook and Seeds during my senior year in college was a wonderful experience for me. I was exposed to many different poverty and hunger-related issues and was able to explore these issues through writing for various Seeds publications. My involvement with Seeds was one of the most meaningful experiences of my college years.

Kristin Waites was a Public Relations intern for Seeds in 2014. Here’s what she wrote about her experience:


Interning with Seeds was one of the most unexpected, yet most rewarding, opportunities. Though I had never heard of Seeds before a professor introduced it to me, I was instantly grateful to be a part of such an upstanding organization. The relaxed, encouraging culture allowed me to develop key skills (graphic design, event marketing, etc.) I would not have been able to foster at a larger nonprofit. Ms. Cook and others welcomed me as if I had been there for years and made me feel comfortable enough to stretch my capabilities. The experience allowed me to both grow professionally and develop relationships I hope to maintain for many years to come. Thank you, Seeds, for an unforgettable semester!

LeAnne Kerr Rowley came to Seeds from Shreveport, La, as Professional Writing intern from Baylor University in 2016. She now works as Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Communities in Schools of San Antonio. Halfway through her internship, she said that she had learned, through her work at Seeds, to write with empathy and clarity. “Although researching about hunger and poverty can make for a heavy heart,” she said, “writing about the positive impacts others are doing to benefit the good of others makes the work worth it.” After her last day at Seeds, she wrote a long Facebook post that we later published on our website. Below are some excerpts from that post, but they don’t do it justice. We urge you to read the whole thing at www.seedspublishers.org/hunger-bytes-2.


I have been able to exercise my reading, writing (especially writing), research, and editing skills every day I have stepped foot into the [Seeds] office. Not only this, but my perspective on our communities has expanded more than I ever expected. I know that there are many people who are suffering. There are many hungry, homeless, poor and powerless people here in Waco, TX, here in America, and in many, many countries of the world. I have never been naive to this fact. But I have been naive in not promoting compassion.

Linda Freeto served on the Seeds Council of Stewards in our early years, before she moved to the Fort Worth, TX, area. When she returned, she agreed to serve as our volunteer Business Manager for a time. After that, she agreed to once again join the Council. She is also a member of the Hunger News & Hope editorial team. A frequent contributor to HNH, she has received a number of Associated Church Press (ACP) awards for her Special Section reports in the HNH summer issues. Here’s what she says about working with Seeds:


I have been involved with Seeds of Hope since around 1992, with a couple of short breaks in the middle. Katie Cook, editor, has a true heart for those who hunger and thirst, and she has been able to show and tell us that the world needs us. Her writing and teaching is amazing. And that’s why I stay involved in the writing and projects of Seeds of Hope. Seeds tells stories of needs in the world around us. But Seeds not only tells us the stories, it also shows us how and what we can do to make a difference. I love reading the Seeds material, but most of all I love working and playing with Katie. 


Michael Williamson, an ordained minister and hospital chaplain,  came to the Seeds office as a volunteer after graduation from Baylor University in 1994. Before long, Seeds hired him to do the research and writing for Volume II of our Guide to World Hunger Organizations. Now he is the Mississippi correspondent for Hunger News & Hope. Here’s what he said about his experience with Seeds:


Working at Seeds of Hope changed my life in a profound way. Seeds brought me to a place in my life where hunger issues are of central importance. I will never be the same. I’m very grateful for my experience there.


After leaving us, Michael attended divinity school in Fort Worth, TX, and then went on to work in urban ministry with Latino immigrants in Los Angeles, a cross-cultural mission in the Mississippi Delta, and economic development/public health mission projects in the Balkans and Mexico. In 2000, he married Amy Cahill, Seeds journalism intern from 1993, who, after her internship, returned every week until graduation to work on news stories.


Milo Grant is the newest member of the Sacred Seasons liturgical team, which plans themes and content for the worship packets. Milo is Minister to Youth, Children, and Families at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, TX. A graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, they will soon complete an MDiv at TCU’s Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth. Below is what they wrote about planning and writing for Sacred Seasons:


The power of liturgy has always captivated me. Creatively working with scripture and our spiritual traditions is a form of dance. It brings me great joy to work with a team to piece together liturgy. I am honored to be a part of aiding minsters and churches all over as they thoughtful engage the Holy One and each other. 



In 2019, Katie Cook and Guilherme Almeida traveled to the republic of Georgia to conduct two workshops. As part of Katie’s workshop, “Writing to End Hunger,” the high school and university students visited a Baptist church in Gori, where members host a soup kitchen for local residents, most of whom were displaced in the 2008 invasion into Georgia by Russian troups. In the photo above, Matthew Saralishvili interviews his new friend Nana, who comes to the church for food and medicine. The students returned to Tbilisi and wrote their stories for a newsletter called Hunger Journal: Working toward Food Security in Georgia. After the workshop was over, Matthew wrote these words in an email:


I feel like I should thank you for all the great experience that you gave to our friends and me involved in this group. Work was done in the way that I felt like we were having fun. And we really were. It was great.


Matthew was already a published author before the workshop. Later, his mother, Bishop Rusudan Gotziridze, who oversees the Gori church, told us that he said the experience had made him realize that he could use his writing for justice.

“I went to the post office today, the newsletter is here and I will give the copies to the participants, I’ll send some of them over to the Gori church where the soup kitchen is. it’s so amazing to see the result and hold it in my own hands. Thank you for that amazing experience and thank you for sending these.”


Natalia Alas worked as a Seeds intern in the Spring of 2013. Hailing from Pearland, TX, as a first-generation college student, she majored in Professional Writing and Psychology. Her hope then was to become a bilingual clinical social worker. She is now working in exactly that capacity at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, providing counseling services to patients and families in English and in Spanish. Just after her internship, she wrote: “After just one semester of writing at Seeds, I have come to realize that words, along with passion, can spark change and movement throughout the community.” Read below what she wrote this month:


Although it has been a few years since I was an intern at Seeds of Hope, there are still moments where I find myself remembering my time there. It was such a wonderful opportunity to be able to learn and write about social issues. I still use the skills I learned during my internship in my current career, writing proposals for new initiatives and workshops with a focus on social justice and mental health. As a clinical social worker who works with predominantly Spanish-speaking clients and their families, I recognize how valuable it is to understand social issues and how things such as food insecurity, racism and language barriers can impact not only one’s physical health, but mental health as well. The work that Seeds of Hope does cannot be understated because bringing awareness to these issues and writing about them helps us to understand each other and grow compassionate to the experience of others. For this reason, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to intern at Seeds of Hope because I felt that it helped me to learn the importance of all these things at an early age.

Poplar Yaun is from Changzhou, Jiangsu, China. She interned at Seeds in 2013 and 2014 as a Masters of International Journalism student at Baylor University. She is now the co-founder of Streamline Events LLC in Houston, TX.


Working at Seeds was a great memory that was full of fun and passion. I had no experience working for any nonprofit publisher before. As expected, I was uncertain what should I write when I first started at Seeds. But the editor gave me the freedom to write anything I have interests. We found a wide range of topics I wanted to explore and then discussed what detailed direction I should go for more research and discussion. Compared to the way I used to write, in which the topic was settled by editors directly, I felt much joy writing for Seeds.


My major topics at Seeds revolved around China: I wrote stories about China’s real-estate bubble and the history of hunger in China. I involved my personal views and experience in these stories. I believe this was my worth to Seeds readers, to show closer aspects for topics about China. In the meantime, it also helped me to think more deeply about them as well.


Besides writing, Seeds also offered other great activities. I got chances to see how articles were edited, printed and reviewed before coming to the readers. I had field trips to places like the Caritas of Waco (a local assistance program) and the World Hunger Relief training farm, which was educational to me to learn how nonprofit organizations operate.


I decided to volunteer for another semester after my internship was completed—not only because it was a place where I could practice writing, but also because of the fun, the work environment and the inspirations that came from this job.

Rachel Boyle (left), a native of Grapevine, TX, was a Baylor University Professional Writing intern at Seeds of Hope in the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018. During that time, she accomplished award-winning work in Hunger News & Hope. Here’s what she wrote about her experience:


What I liked best about Seeds was the environment. I was a very anxious and introverted college student, so having such a supportive and encouraging supervisor for my first internship was the best thing that could have happened to me! I really felt like I could thrive, and by all accounts I did! Writing for Seeds also expanded my horizons. Many of the topics that I researched were things that I wouldn’t have thought to research on my own, but were thought-provoking and gave me insight into hunger, disasters, faith questions and more: not just the topics, either, but the faces of the people affected by them.”

Rebecca Ward volunteered for Seeds in high school, drawing images for Sacred Seasons and designing exhibits, as well as writing. In 2004 and 2005, she officially interned at Seeds as part of an art degree at the University of Texas in Austin. During that time, she organized an art show called The Art of Compassion, which showcased much of the art that had been published in Seeds publications. She is now an internationally acclaimed artist based in New York City. Here’s what she wrote about Seeds:


Working for Seeds of Hope Publishers has been by far the most important volunteer experience for me. Addressing issues like poverty and hunger has broadened my worldview and shaped my aspirations. By contributing my artistic talent, I feel I have helped give spiritually to the community and world to which I am committed.

Below are responses from a couple of our Sacred Seasons subscribers:


The Sacred Seasons worship packets from Seeds have been a helpful resource for our congregation’s worship in a number of ways. The sermons in the packet prompt us as preachers toward new directions with a text, and the quotations from the “Quotes, Poems & Pithy Sayings” page often provides meditation focus to begin our worship. We don’t find this caliber of peace- and justice-oriented worship materials anywhere else.

–Amy Mears & April Baker, pastors of Glendale Baptist Church in Nashville, TN


I always look forward to getting my Sacred Seasons packet from Seeds of Hope. It always provides me with thought-provoking worship materials. It is refreshingly focused on justice, mercy and compassion. Too many of the traditional church resources ignore these central aspects of the Christian faith. I am always challenged, encouraged and stimulated by these materials. I used them often.

–Doug Donley, pastor of University Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN

Sally Askins is vice president of the Seeds Council of Stewards and, as our resident artist, is one of the creative forces behind our resources. She is Associate Professor of Theatre Design at Baylor University. Here’s what she wrote about working with Seeds:


As a costume designer, most of the marks I make on paper are renderings that inform some sort of storytelling narrative meant to be seen on stage. Around 25 years ago, I walked into the office of a small publishing house that officed at the church where I had just placed membership. That organization was Seeds of Hope, and Katie Cook was the editor. Katie had seen me doodle obsessively through Wednesday night church gatherings (and, if I’m being honest, occasionally on the borders of the Sunday morning order of worship guides). She asked me if I would make a drawing to illustrate an article she was working on. Her simple request began my journey of making marks on paper for a narrative that was, and is, a way to connect to communities often challenged on so many levels. Poverty, food insecurity, the marginalization of groups defined somehow as the “other” and the changing climate all are stories that are visceral and immediate. Yet, through all of the chaos created by these realities and other almost overwhelming issues, Seeds has created for me a foundation singing written songs of love and hope. The soft melody of a young mother bringing Hope to the world during Advent transitions into the haunting lament of Lent. Finally, Seeds’ song of hope soars into a celestial melody of resurrection and celebration. To be allowed to participate by being a small part of that narrative with drawing has graced the fabric of my own narrative and has brought countless blessings to my world.

This photo, taken by Leslie Rosencrans, shows Sara Alexander at a Seeds Hotcakes & Hymns fundraiser. Sara is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Baylor University. She joined the Seeds Council of Stewards in 2016. She is a social anthropologist and has worked in Central America, West and East Africa and Appalachia. She has conducted extensive research in developing countries and has served as an advisor for CARE, Save the Children, World Vision and the World Food Programme. In addition to being a Seeds Council member, she has written several pieces for Hunger News & Hope. Here’s what she wrote about working with Seeds:


As acknowledged by organizations such as the United Nations, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization, among others, hunger is cited as one of the most critical issues of our world today. The second Sustainable Development Goal defined by the UN to strive toward for 2030 is “Zero Hunger.” Chronic hunger has been around for a very long time, and has intensified since the colonialism period and countries’ being given their independence since. I feel a very strong commitment to the mission of Seeds of Hope, which is to promote awareness and understanding of hunger in our world today. Having worked in a number of developing countries over my career, in some cases where hunger rates are extremely high, I firmly believe that awareness and understanding of an issue is the critical first step to working towards effective means to address a problem. Unless you understand what hunger is, technically, and know about its underlying causes in a particular locale, we have no starting point from which to work to explore means for how we can lessen hunger in our world today. This is precisely what Seeds of Hope does, and I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve as a Council member.

In 2011, Seeds launched a fundraiser called “The Shirley, Guinness & Marcie Extravaganza,” featuring the infamous Gospel trio in a dinner concert at Seventh & James Baptist Church. In 2012, Shirley was not available for the fundraiser, so the trio made a full-length program of auditions for her part in “Don’t Call Me Shirley,” which took place at Lake Shore Baptist Church. The trio appeared again in 2016 as headliners in a fall variety show called “Spaghetti Western,” back at Seventh & James. They hosted the Seeds “Hotcakes & Hymns” fundraiser in the spring of 2018. In spite of all odds, the trio seems to have a cult following and has brought in much-needed funds for the Seeds ministry—while offering comic relief to all.




Stormy Campbell was a Professional Writing intern in 2012, and went on after graduation to serve as a VISTA(Volunteer in Service to America) for Americorps. Here’s what she wrote about working at Seeds:


My internship at Seeds was the academic highlight of my time at college. I knew I had interests in both working on poverty-related issues and writing, but I never realized I could combine the two until Seeds. My internship was beneficial academically as I had the opportunity to work on projects that aligned with my interests outside the classroom, but also personally as I had the chance to learn about hunger-related issues in such a nuanced and thoughtful way as I researched and wrote about them.