Tending to St. Mary’s Garden

Weekly Reflection, Friday, July 29

By: Kitty Williams

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” – Genesis 2:15

The buildings and churchyard grounds at St. Mary’s delight our eyes and soothe our souls. Along with the preaching, teaching, fellowship, and outreach, they embody the vibrant spirit of this place.

At Easter, our churchyard is filled with children racing around hunting Easter eggs. For decades, we’ve brought our baskets and spread our blankets between the markers for annual Church Picnics in May.

St. Mary’s churchyard is a sacred place where we go to weep, smile, and celebrate the lives of our loved ones whose remains rest in the earth under the trees. Walking through these grounds is a journey through the history of this beloved church. We see the small stones marking the graves of the coal miners and the people for whom this little church was built well over 100 years ago. We look with fondness at those gravesites of dear friends with whom we had shared so much life here. And we mourn again for those who left this earth too early. All around us, we see a reflection of love and now deep peace.

But just like the garden of Eden described in the book of Genesis, our garden needs tending. At the very beginning, God put humans in his garden to work, and our St. Mary’s grounds need the same kind of care.

Although we are fortunate to be able to hire landscaping professionals to do the heavy stuff, they can’t do everything. Planting annuals, weeding, pruning, watering, and general tidying up requires many hands.

Years ago, parishioners formed the WEED Rather Not! team to tend our garden. Many of those original members are now at rest in this very place. We – and, I think, they – now invite you to come take up their trowels and pruning shears.

Novice, experienced, or in between, all gardeners and would-be gardeners are welcome to join. There will be fellowship, conversation, and lemonade in the shade. Gardeners are the best teachers, and you’re almost guaranteed to learn something you didn’t know.

We‘ll be pulling weeds, watering, raking acorns, or pruning back luxuriant foliage. Sometimes we’ll pitch in to do general churchyard cleanup. Occasionally, we hope to do some planting as well! An experienced gardener will always direct our efforts.

WEED Rather Not! is forming again and looking for new members to join the team. The hope is the group will meet several weekends throughout the year. Please reach out to me, Kitty Williams, or Sue Thompson to sign up or learn more.