Prayer Garden featured on 2003 tour

Monday, June 16, 2003

The McKinley Hill Church of Christ Prayer Garden is one of the five local gardens featured on the garden tour this year. Some members of the church began the garden last August.

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It's that time of year again!

Tickets are available for $5 each at The Brazil Times, Sugar 'N' Spice and Sugar Ridge Nurseries for anyone interested in going on the Garden Tour. This Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public will have the opportunity to take a more intimate look at five of the area's finest gardens.

Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the tour at any of the featured gardens or at the Pinckley St. entrance to Forest Park, where tourists can attend a tea party at the shelter and browse the wares of various vendors set up in a temporary marketplace.

This year's tour includes the Prayer Garden at McKinley Hill Church of Christ and those tended to by Dan and Kenda Dierdorf, Robert L. Knierem, Al and Loretta Pierce and John and Terri Haddon. Maps will be provided with the tickets.

Several members of McKinley Hill Church got together and decided to create a Prayer Garden to be used for whatever the congregation may need, from taking wedding photographs to just sitting and relaxing. One would never guess when looking around the area now that the committee only began digging last August.

A tree is painted on the wall around the exit that leads from inside the church out to the Prayer Garden. Its golden leaves are inscribed with the names of those who helped fund the project, while others say "in memory of," followed by the name of whomever a donor wished to revere. Probably about 90 percent of the church's garden budget has come from these donations.

Although Apple House of Terre Haute assisted with the basic layout of the area, the dedicated workers have made its overall style their own. The cobblestone sidewalk and the stamped and colored cement were chosen to match the hues of the brick church as closely as possible. The concrete work, inlaid with crosses, was done by Mike Mershon.

The crew, led by chairman Joy Frederick, planted a great number of both perennials and annuals. The latticework archways are garnished with purple wisteria, while the ground is scattered with white icicle pansies and many varieties of shrubs.

A fountain flows in the center of the garden and lights placed throughout cast a certain ambience on the entire location. Visitors are sure to be intrigued by the church bell on display, which first graced the steeple of the old Lena Church over 100 years ago.

Frederick, her husband Kirk, Nancy and Steve Reinoehl, Sheila McKee, Bev Thomas, Connie Frederick, Alan Bell, Greg Reinoehl, Dale Mathis and other church members have all invested long hours and hard work into forming the peaceful retreat, but it seems to be the committee's general consensus that the Fredericks' two-year-old son Collier has been their most valuable asset.

The committee is quite modest about the amazing progress they have made in such a short time. Rather than patting themselves on the back, they are continuing their efforts to ensure that the garden will be even better in the future.

Tomorrow: Al and Loretta Pierce's garden

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