I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses….” (From the hymn “In the Garden” by C. Austin Miles)
A garden is a special place.
Sunday, March 9, was a beautiful day for the Dedication of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church’s Memorial Garden, and this historic Victorian era church was filled with congregation and guests who greeted each other as they gathered outside for the consecration of the Memorial Garden following the 9:30 a.m. worship service.
The Reverend Joe Boyles, Vicar, officiated, blessing this sacred ground to the Glory of God and in loving memory of St. Mary’s members whose names are memorialized on St. Mary’s Memorial Garden plaque. After the blessing, Chris and Ashley Bacot shared in reading a poem, “A Garden,” and everyone sang the hymn “in the Garden.”
Dot Bacot and Regina Barber shared in reading the 13 names on the bronze Memorial plaque to be placed in the garden: Benjamin “Fr. Ben” Oliver Pfeil, who faithfully served as Vicar of St. Mary’s for 20 years, Jules de Romand Bacot, Sarah Agnes Bacot Kabat, Lawrence “Larry” N. Kabat, Robert “Bob” Edward Burns, Virginia “Ginny” Hankins Burns, Amy Ruth Newman, Donald Keith “Don” Parry, Margaret “Marge” Regina Mehr Parry, Patricia “Patty” Vera Prince Marker and Mary Scruggs Brinson.
At the reception in the Parish Hall immediately afterward, beautiful camellias grown by Nate Curtis decorated the tables. The registry that the guests signed has been placed in St. Mary’s new Garden History Book, a book filled with photos of the 13 people memorialized and photos of the garden’s dedication, so that future generations can reflect upon this special day.
The Memorial Garden, begun several years ago with the planting of crape myrtles, is now complete, adding beauty to the front of the church, as well as to the path the procession takes each Sunday, as an acolyte bearing the historic cross leads the way through the Garden, and up through St. Mary’s front doors. Smaller front gardens echo colors in the Memorial Garden. A stone Meditation Path defines the garden and meanders through it. Church members Dot Bacot, Hart Cherp and others help in the Garden. Gale Dickert, who started the garden and enjoys working in it, said she is most grateful for the opportunity to do so. All work, she said, is dedicated to the Glory of God. “The peace one finds in a garden cannot be measured.”
A year or so ago, St. Mary’s congregation decided to designate the garden as a Memorial Garden where ashes of loved ones might be interred.
This Garden is situated in the heart of downtown, and the Vicar and St. Mary’s congregation cordially invites everyone to visit it. Walk the Meditation Path or just rest awhile on a shady bench. It’s a quiet spot to pray and observe nature. Cardinals and other birds frequent the fountain and various seasonal flowers are in bloom year-round, with snapdragons, pansies and flowering kale in winter. In summer, agapanthus lilies lift their tall spiky blue flower heads towards heaven, while colorful zinnias, marigolds, lantana and butterfly bush attract butterflies reminding us of rebirth. So, come sit awhile and enjoy the peace.
Visitors to the 9:30 a.m. Sunday service are welcomed. Holy Communion is offered each Sunday, and all baptized Christians are invited to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Visitors are often amazed by the simple beauty of this historic Carpenter Gothic structure, and the way the light filters through the magnificent historic stained glass. Indeed, this little wooden church in the heart of the historic downtown is truly a treasure for Madison County.