A UNIFIED VISION AND PROJECT
With the artful expertise of landscape architect, Jennifer Germain, we have developed a vision for ministry on our campus’ western side. The master plan she’s helped create gives us an integrated design that flows between each of the “Garden Sanctuary’s” features, and maximizes the ministry that will happen in each space.
The Fellowship Patio (#1 in graphic) will give us an inviting and functional space for food and gathering. A Labyrinth (#2) set in short grass, provides a more solitary space for spiritual growth, yet can be utilized for overflow and other group activities. Crossing a low bridge (#3), entry into the Memorial Garden is past a bubbling rock and opens to a center circle. There, ashes can be placed into the earth in the formal gardens (#5) or scattered on the restored prairie just west of the memorial wall (#4). Outdoor worship (see #8), concerts, gatherings and games are designed to take place adjacent to the Patio. Respite circles (#6) nearby, connected by our walking paths in our prairie grass surround the garden and offers various ways of entering and using the space.
Rather than various groups working with differing styles, purposes, stages and fundraising efforts, this master plan led us to unite the whole effort into what essentially is our “Garden Sanctuary.” The Memorial Garden Team (part of Memorials) worked closely with the Land Stewardship Team in developing this master plan that has been affirmed by the Board of Trustees and Church Council.
This wonderful space, just outside the Fellowship Hall, will be an inviting, open and comfortable place to eat, visit, view the landscape, and find connection with others and nature. The wood-fired bread oven will be moved adjacent to the Patio which will make it easier to use and all can enjoy. Surrounding the Patio will be shrubs and perennial plants.
Outdoor worship area
In close proximity to the Fellowship Patio will be a large level grassy area that can be utilized for all kinds of activities ranging from outdoor worship, concerts, fellowship space, to games and activities. The Patio, being so close, will provide the hard surface required for those who are handicapped, etc. during events and worship.
The Memorial Garden gives us an opportunity to minister to the whole region’s population at a time of grief with an environmentally responsible, economical, and compassionate on-going relationship. Cremains can be either placed directly into the earth in the “formal gardens” or scattered in our restored “prairie” section of the garden just west of the memorial wall. The memorial wall is designed to be a stone wall topped with granite where names will be inscribed. Entering the garden, one will discover a bubbling rock water feature, recalling our baptism and promise of life eternal in Christ.
This is an historic ministry of the church, dating back to the early church and beyond into our Hebrew spiritual ancestors’ practices.
Following a Memorial Service the congregation will process into the garden for the conclusion of the liturgy with the interment of the ashes. The design of the Garden and patio gives quick and easy access then to the Fellowship Hall or Patio for a fellowship meal or gathering.
The Garden also is designed to be a place of life and renewal and can host a variety of events such as weddings, baptisms, receptions, meditation groups and individual prayer.
A fee of $1,000 for internment and/or engraving is significantly less expensive than traditional costs of lots, vaults, caskets, headstones, etc., and our practice of scattering or burial directly into the earth means that our garden’s capacity is virtually limitless compared to cubical style Columbariums and cemetery lots. Consent forms are available in the Gathering Space and or online HERE.
Continuing our experience with this unique spiritual tool, the vision is to place a stone or brick labyrinth in a circular lawn, surrounded by trees and the granite benches that graced our labyrinth at our downtown building. Across from the labyrinth, the old church bell will be mounted for use on special occasions near the Sanctuary’s west wall. The vinyl fences that cover the HVAC units will be replaced with natural wood barriers.
Your Part in Making it Happen
Launching this “Creating A Garden Sanctuary” campaign, we are confident you will want it to be a success and begin construction as soon as possible. Our goal is $250,000.
Matching Gifts Available until June 24th!
We’ve been blessed with the generous commitment of anonymous donors who’ve offered up to $80,000. Take advantage of this offer to double your gift by getting your Pledge/Commitment Card in by June 24th. Consider now making a gift to ensure this ministry can be fulfilled. Gifts and pledges (for a three year period), especially taking advantage of the matching gifts, would help greatly. We trust that everyone will believe in these ministries and our goal is that everyone will have the opportunity to give to this effort.
We will conclude the active portion of our campaign Sunday, July 29th, announce our campaign total, and hopefully announce a construction schedule.
Please consider having your permanent spiritual home in our Memorial Garden and sign up to ensure that your names are engraved next to loved ones on the wall, and consider making a sacrificial commitment to this exciting ministry.
— The Creating A Garden Sanctuary Campaign Team, Jill Haak & Bill Meier, co-Chairs