Several months ago, a member from the Worship & Music committee brought up the idea of a memorial garden at our church. The committee nodded together as we discussed our recent Wednesday night worship experiment. Maybe having a prayer space outside would be a great addition for our church.
And so the idea of a memorial garden at Bethany was born. To be honest, I struggled to picture it. Where might this garden be? What would it look like? Who would be in charge of it? I found myself thinking about all the logistics and wondering how this idea might grow.
How do we make it happen?
And I wasn’t the only one. The memorial garden idea found it’s way to our volunteer maintenance crew, who like me thought it sounded like a nice idea. But there was still the question: How do we make it happen? Because truth be told, our volunteer crew already did so much in their short three hours each Thursday morning, and many hours and days outside of that. The setup and maintenance would likely be too much to take on.
Yet there was still a growing number of people who found their hearts leaning towards a garden. A place outside designated for prayer, for meditation, and for remembering those who have come before. Worship & Music brought the idea to our church’s Memorial Committee, and the Holy Spirit got to work.
Through conversations within the committee, quarterly church meetings, and our church council, along with a sizable donation to the project, the idea began to bloom.
Thoughts and ideas began to come in. One person shared how much it would mean to them to have a spot to pray, and maybe even have a memorial plant for their loved one who they missed. A way to visit them while being close to church. Conversations around Jesus praying in the garden at Gethsemane filled the space.
Our church council also discussed a recent incident when someone came into the church during office hours asking to pray in the sanctuary. Our secretary let the person do so, but found herself constantly checking in and making sure everything was okay. Having a space outside the church building to offer as sanctuary would provide safety and security for our church staff while also still providing hospitality to our neighbors.
And eventually, from all of these thoughts, ideas, and the way idea of a memorial garden was coming together, I found myself picturing it too. There are still logistics to work on. The small team that has been spearheading this project still needs to grow in numbers. But however the space comes to be or changes over time, seeing the ways our members are drawn to prayer and drawn to spaces of God’s creation has been wonderful.
I can’t wait to see how God grows ideas in our church next!
Where are some of your favorite places to pray? What are ideas or visions that God has put on your heart today?