The Hope Garden
During lockdown, we were asked to transform the garden at church into a Hope garden. We had a great example in a garden in Markyate Baptist Church for inspiration and we were very fortunate as our garden was already well established. And so we started to think about how we could celebrate and champion hope in our community.
We started with some questions, “Imaging God saying…” “Tell me about your day”, “what is on your heart?” we put some words of scripture and places to find help locally. We added places to sit and reflect, painted benches, and planted to soften edges.
We wanted the garden to be a place to remember and reflect for those that had lost family and friends to Covid but for it to be much more than a place of remembrance. We saw the garden as a resource for our community and for the garden to be a celebration of hope. So we put up bunting that Teresa made (40+ metres) on bamboo poles while Pastor Alex spray painted games and trails onto the drive. The number of families who still use them are such an amazing encouragement.
We cut the grass that hadn’t been touched for months then wondered what we would do with the other half of the garden when we ran out of room for the cuttings. The answer was simple, we didn’t cut all the grass, we made a maze! Kids would use it as an exploration trail for months afterwards. Adults as an aid to reflection and meditation. The number of families who used it all said how valuable they found it. All because we ran out of room for grass cuttings!
Since then we’ve planted bulbs and plants and seeds to continue celebrating hope into the spring and summer of next year.
Lately we’ve cut back some of the overgrown shrubs that needed taming and shaping and shredded most of the clippings into a mulch to retain moisture in the soil.
We’ve set aside two areas where we’ve sown wild meadow plants that will establish themselves over the next couple of years and become a hub for wildlife, because in a garden nothing shouts out hope like planting!
Our plans for the garden are to continue to transform it and to champion hope. Not just a “hopeful” hope, like “I hope it doesn’t rain today!”, but rather to celebrate the hope we have in Jesus who is an absolutely certain kind of hope and in these uncertain times where everything is changing, he is the one hope of the world.