Representatives of the ministries at St. Paul’s Commons gather at its booth at the Echo Park Earth Fest. Photos: Bob Williams

Immaculate Heart Community Vice President Chris Monroe guides fest-goer in “Mother Earth Good News” game.

[The Episcopal News] Offering free compost and cookbooks, ministry partners at St. Paul’s Commons – headquarters of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles – staffed one of the busiest booths at the first-ever Echo Park Earth Fest, held April 27.

Thousands of Angelenos visited the lively event presented around Echo Park Lake by state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, the community agency El Centro del Pueblo, and the L.A. Dodgers.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Dolores DeAngelis, community leader and parishioner of Echo Park’s St. Athanasius Episcopal Church, who was among early organizers who proposed and helped coordinate the festival. DeAngelis is also active with the Preserve Echo Park Lake (PEP) organization.

St. Athanasius lay leader Dolores DeAngelis, among event organizers, staffs booth for Preserve Echo Park Lake (PEP).

Seeds of Hope, the diocese’s far-reaching food security ministry led by director Steve Trapasso, opened its nearby Edendale Grove Community Garden to highlight hands-on composting techniques while a festival booth was staffed by members of the Immaculate Heart Community, Holy Spirit Episcopal Community, and staffers from IRIS Refugee and Immigration Services, in addition to volunteers from St. Athanasius Church and Seeds of Hope.

Immaculate Heart leaders, including Sherry Purcell and Chris Monroe, presented a popular “Mother Earth Good News” game that put an informative spin on highlighting environmental advances. Meanwhile, event organizers were provided 50 parking spaces at St. Paul’s Commons in an effort coordinated by Canon Luis Garibay, building superintendent.

California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo poses with community volunteer Sakae Koyama at the Earth Fest in Echo Park.

“Earth Fest brought together our St. Paul’s Commons colleagues and the wider community in wonderful ways,” said Bob Williams, diocesan canon for common life, who served on the Earth Fest arrangements team. “There’s nothing like a shared project to build teamwork.”

Coordinated by longtime community leader Conrado Terrazas-Cross, the 1 -7 p.m. “low-waste” festival also featured free demonstrations of ride-and-drive electric vehicles, a free tree giveaway, free eye exams and eyeglasses, Medi-Cal and Cal-Fresh/EBT sign-ups, children’s activities, Loteria/bingo, guided nature tours, and continuous entertainment, including Vilma Diaz y La Sonora, “the best Columbian Cumbia.”

L.A. City Council member Hugo Soto Martinez joined Durazo and Echo Park Neighborhood Council President Raphael Vazquez in welcoming festival-goers, a majority of whom expressed their desire for Earth Fest to become an annual event.