Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Start of the Gethsemane Prayer Garden

The Gethsemane Prayer Garden was first envisioned independently in 1999 by two people: Pastor Lee Simmons, founding pastor of Faith Chapel, and Alice Soule, a member of the church body. The garden was seen to be a quiet place of refuge and peace; a place similar to the garden in Jerusalem where Jesus offered his cup before the Lord in prayer; a place to have an encounter with the Lord.

Four years later, under the direction of Pastor Lee Simmons, the garden began development as a result of an initial bereavement gift. First, the gentle 'Bonica' roses were added, followed in subsequent years with a stone altar, then several privacy berms, the addition of a trellis, and finally the relocation of a large number of shrubs and trees. As each area was developed and as finance permitted, perennials were brought in and walkways were added to create a cohesive and flowing effect.

Today, this two-acre site has expanded to include twelve beds (12,000 sq. ft.), sixty perennial flower varieties, and several hundred shrubs and trees from forty species and subspecies. This prayer garden is open to the public and has no admission fee. While this garden presents the beauty of the landscape, many have commented on the serene peace that this garden offers.

End Note: The overall theme for this series of articles is flowers and plants, showing how they point to love. Sometimes I write 'how to' do something, other times the emphasis is a status update, or the article will be about how a plant or flower touched my heart. All of these writings are based on plants from the Gethsemane Prayer Garden in Syracuse, NY. Please consider some of the other blog articles: Index of Articles About the Gethsemane Prayer Garden.