Progress with the Piedmont Meditation/Memorial Garden

Progress with the Piedmont Meditation/Memorial Garden

Plans are moving forward for the Piedmont Memorial/Meditation Garden at the University Gathering! Landscape Architect Laurel Holtzapple successfully completed the conceptual design for the garden, which was approved unanimously by the garden committee and shared with the entire congregation.  Laurel is now preparing construction plans. When they are completed, we will have landscape contractors bid on carrying out the construction. After we have received and reviewed the bids, we will be able to decide on the scope of the project and a timeline for completion of the project.  The committee hopes construction will take place in the fall of 2020.

On January 26, Member Doug Wall spoke at both gatherings and kicked off the first activity of our fundraising project for the garden, which he has designated “Funding the Dream.” During the months of February and March, members at University Gathering and Salisbury Gatherings can choose an envelope numbered 1-100 and make a donation of that amount on the envelope.

Also, members now have the opportunity to make pledges for commemorative bricks. Inscribed bricks will line the paths and entry area leading to the garden circle, the main focal point of the garden. Doug has suggested having bricks inscribed in honor of loved one or in memory of loved ones. It is also possible to have a statement or passage inscribed on the brick. Each brick can have up to 60 characters – three rows of 20. Each brick is $119 and will be a very important source of funds for the construction. Members can donate any number of bricks they choose.  At this time only pledges are being taken for the bricks. When we have an actual construction budget, we will ask for pledges to be honored. The sale of bricks will be ongoing, as the garden is developed in 2020 and into the future.  Forms are available each Sunday at both locations and will be available soon on the church website.

Members will also have opportunities to support the garden in other ways, such as by donating the cost of a tree, shrub, bench, boulder, water feature or lighting.

Member Elaine Slaton led the committee in developing policies for the garden and those are now part of the church’s newly approved Policy Manual. They will guide the garden’s development now and into the future.  After construction, a permanent Garden Ministry Team will be formed under the leadership of the minister to maintain and protect the garden, resolve any issues that arise and guide its development into the future.

Members of the Garden Committee are Jeff Blum, Rev. Mary Frances Comer, Anne Laukaitis, Michelle Murphy, Elaine Slaton, Gail Smith-Arrants, Pauline Tulson and Doug Wall. We have been working for over a year on the garden project, meeting monthly and sometimes more often on all aspects of the garden planning. We interviewed many members and church teams over the course of 2019. We envision the garden as a beautiful outdoor space, a sanctuary, one that will continue to be developed over time. It will be a place where rituals can be held, small groups can meet, small musical groups can perform, vigils can take place, and individual members or small groups can enjoy a quiet meditative place. It will be beautifully landscaped with native, low maintenance trees and shrubs. There will a space partially encircling the central circle for the interment of ashes, and ashes can also be placed along the campus paths. Members are very dedicated to the garden and believe it will be a source of joy and inspiration for all.

Anne Laukaitis, Member
Meditation/Memorial Garden Committee