Memory Garden

 

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In 2008, the con­gre­ga­tion of Sharon-Hope approved a new and excit­ing project—a Mem­o­ry Gar­den.
The Gar­den was the vision of Bloise Thom­son and the late Edwin Hunt, and it was intend­ed to be an acces­si­ble gar­den retreat to be used for a vari­ety of purposes—-from a place for qui­et reflec­tion, to an out­door church ser­vice venue, to a wed­ding loca­tion.

The pro­fes­sion­al­ly designed Mem­o­ry Gar­den is locat­ed just north of the church build­ing. We broke ground in the spring of 2009 when the site was re-grad­ed, elec­tric ser­vice was brought in, and top­soil was added. A team of vol­un­teers plant­ed cedars along the north prop­er­ty line to form a hedge that would serve as the back­drop to the Gar­den, and provide pri­va­cy. Soon, anoth­er team was rolling count­less rolls of sod. Over the next sev­er­al years, plant­i­ng beds were pre­pared, and a vari­ety of plants were estab­lished includ­ing an orna­men­tal tree, flow­er­ing shrubs, vines, and peren­ni­als. In 2010, a cement pad was poured, and an arbor was added in 2012. The arbor was designed to be rem­i­nis­cent of the Sharon Tem­ple which is an his­toric land­mark sit­u­at­ed just north of our church. 

In 2014, we saw work com­plet­ed on a light and beau­ti­ful rock water foun­tain. This water fea­ture is com­prised of a large cen­tre rock rep­re­sent­ing Jesus, sur­round­ed by twelve small­er rocks rep­re­sent­ing the dis­ci­ples. The rocks have been gath­ered from farms in the area to com­mem­o­rate the rural com­mu­ni­ty that estab­lished the orig­i­nal Sharon Methodist Church and the Hope Church. The­se two con­gre­ga­tions amal­ga­mat­ed in 1954 to form Sharon-Hope Unit­ed Church. Stone was also gath­ered from the sight of the orig­i­nal Hope Church. A nine­ty gal­lon tank sur­round­ed by one ton of crushed stone allows water to con­tin­u­ous­ly cycle up through the cen­tre rock which weighs in at 2 tons. The words, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of liv­ing water. John 7” are inscribed on the large cen­tre stone. 

Bench­es have also been added to the Gar­den. The­se attrac­tive and com­fort­able bench­es have been cus­tom made from Hon­duras Kayu. Kayu is an exotic mahogany hard­wood in the Teak fam­i­ly that nat­u­ral­ly resists rot.  The met­al frame bench­es are extreme­ly heavy and will stand up over time.

In 2016, a beau­ti­ful stone patio and side­walk were added to the Mem­o­ry Gar­den. This new patio not only enhances the Gar­den, but also opens up increased oppor­tu­ni­ties for out­door events.  A side­walk from the patio pro­vides acces­si­ble access to and from the park­ing lot and church build­ing using the south side door. The patio can also be accessed from the two doors on the north side of the sanc­tu­ary. Stone pavers that were once part of the orig­i­nal side­walk sur­round­ing the park­ing lot were used to cre­ate the patio.

The chil­dren from Noah’s Ark Preschool are reg­u­lar vis­i­tors to this spe­cial gar­den retreat. Here they are able to learn about plants, and expe­ri­ence the changes in the sea­son first hand. As well, they all enjoy the foun­tain water fea­ture! A cer­tain min­is­ter has been known to steal away for a qui­et lunch break in the arbor. And, we were very excit­ed to recent­ly see the loca­tion used for wed­ding photographs—what a beau­ti­ful back­drop!

Our beau­ti­ful Mem­o­ry Gar­den con­tin­ues to “blos­som” under the care of our res­i­dent gar­den­ers. We are also able to enjoy the­se blooms inside as well, as the sanc­tu­ary is reg­u­lar­ly adorned with sea­son­al offer­ings from the vari­ety of plant­i­ngs that have tak­en hold since we first broke ground. The Prop­er­ty Team apt­ly man­ages the hard­scape ele­ments,

Sig­nage to com­mem­o­rate the names of those who have donat­ed plants and oth­er items will also be added in the near future.

This project has been gen­er­ous­ly fund­ed by dona­tions of mon­ey and mate­ri­als from con­gre­ga­tion and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers. In addi­tion, innu­mer­able hours of man­u­al labor have been donat­ed by a long list of ded­i­cat­ed vol­un­teers. Thank you to all who have shared in mak­ing this dream a real­i­ty!

If you are inter­est­ed in becom­ing involved in the care of the Mem­o­ry Gar­den or would like more infor­ma­tion about this project, please let us know. 

 

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