The Community Wood Fire Oven at Racine United Methodist Church is an outdoor, wood-fired brick oven. Although it will produce amazing pizzas and rustic bread, it is more than that. The oven will be a unique place in our community where we all can slow down, create, strengthen relationships, and build connections. Slowing Down, Meeting Neighbors, and Baking Really Good Bread.
In the past in Europe, there was just one oven for an entire community. It was not possible for every person to have their own oven, and so the community shared a large oven in the center of town. In the process of baking, people would meet friends; discuss politics, share stories, and get to know one another. In addition to producing good food, the community ovens produced good neighbors.
That old idea is now coming to the Racine, MN Area Community. On Sunday 28th 2015 we broke ground to begin building the Community Wood Fire Oven at Racine United Methodist Church. We are excited to explore how bread making and baking in a wood fire oven will give us the opportunity to slow down, discover the sacred in the ordinary, and connect – REALLY connect – with people of the community. Hopefully we'll be eating some wood-fired pizzas and baking many loaves of awesome bread by this Fall.
News, information, pictures and random observations will be posted on this blog. Stay tuned and visit often.
Construction of the wood fire oven started on June 29th. It will be a community effort. Anybody who would like to volunteer to help is welcome to sign-up for a volunteer slot (more information about signing up will be posted soon). Once completed, we'll focus on learning how to fire the oven and use its full heat cycle. Then, the fun will really begin.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, however, we must step back and thank White Bear Lake United Methodist (in the Twin Cities) for lighting the fire to start pursuing this endeavor. White Bear Lake UMC offered a grant for one church to build a wood fire oven. Unfortunately there were many worthy applicants and only one grant and we were not awarded the grant, but the flame was lit in us. Next we need to thank Alden and Elsie Marburger who saw the flame that had been lit and came to the Task Force with the fuel we needed to build that small fire into the project we are in the midst of today. They said we believe in all of you and we think WE can do this even though we did not receive the grant, and they generously offered us $1,000 to get started. We must also thank Pastor Bryce Johnson at White Bear Lake United Methodist for his vision that sparked our imagination and made this possible. We also need to thank Mike Faust for his willingness to take us touring other ovens and for his technical expertise from building three other ovens in use in other communities in Minnesota that is going to help us get this project done.