Homestead Village is blessed to be located in an idyllic location, close to every major attraction and thoroughfare, yet tucked into beautiful neighborhoods. One amenity that we often take for granted is Rader Park. According to Church of the Apostles’ website,
“Rader Park is an outdoor ministry of Church of the Apostles that encompasses over 20 acres of our campus. Over the years it’s been developed with an eye toward stewardship of the earth and faithful ecological practices. Improvements include:
- Over 100 trees have been planted in the last few years including memorial trees to honor members who have passed away. There are stands of evergreens planted as boundary trees to hide a busy road. The memorial trees have created an aleé of hardwoods leading to a group of evergreens planted to create an enclosed campfire area used for intergenerational campout.
- Other natural features include a pond stocked with fish which is home to frogs and a snapping turtle or two.
- Church members have worked together to build walking trails and gazebos at strategic places for rest and viewing the scenery.
- A large pavilion was completed in 2007 and is used for outdoor worship services and church picnics. Playground equipment for the children is available in this area.
A butterfly garden was developed to encourage all sorts of beneficial insects.
- Bee hives have been added and the church produces its own honey known as Sweet Success.
- In the summer of 2012, an acre and a half was plowed and a vegetable garden was planted. Members planted, weeded, harvested and sold vegetables on the property to clients and employees of our campus partner non-profit organizations. Over two tons of vegetables were donated to local residential missions and some of the produce was frozen for use in homemade soup made and sold in the church during the winter.
- Summer programming in the park is a very active part of our church. Center city school children arrive in May for field trips and benefit from the science and ecology they learn through stream studies, planting vegetables, fishing in the pond, and studying bugs living in the dirt. A Wacky Wednesday literacy program for toddlers and young children is held every summer with adult story readers. Organizations including our own Apostles Preschool, and various other non- profit agencies, use the park for their summer camps that last anywhere from a week to a month.
- On Sunday evenings in the summer, intergenerational programs focusing on nature and ecology occur every two weeks and bring a large crowd of member families and neighbors alike. The evenings always end with ice cream, sometimes from our own soft ice cream machine.
Rader Park is an important part of our church mission of Sharing Christ’s Love with All People. Many people say they feel closer to God in nature and Rader Park fills that spiritual need for many. Come see our park and enjoy everything it has to offer.”
Church of the Apostles has graciously made Rader Park available for the enjoyment and well being of the Homestead Community. We are indebted to them for enhancing our environment and surroundings with beauty and opportunities for exercise, picnicking, gardening and public service. Over forty years ago, Nevin Shellenberger had a vision for his church to be surrounded by ministries that the church could support and lead. With the help of like-minded individuals such as Glen Rader, Bob Williams, Richard Geiger, Al Alspach and others, Nevin's dream has become a reality. Rader Park is an important part of that incredible legacy.