Stewardship of Our Church Land

img_0945Last year, a group of People’s people gathered to share visions for the use and care of our outdoor church home, the grounds surrounding our building. We discussed challenges such as lack of space for adding trees to the Memorial Garden, the children’s need for a large grassy area, invasive plant species, and the extraordinary number of hours that volunteers spend maintaining the grounds. People shared goals such as fostering resilient ecosystems, encouraging more people to connect with nature, creating natural play areas, adding an accessible path to the Memorial Garden, and simplifying maintenance.

In October, we started developing a land management plan to address these issues and goals. Julia Kirkwood created a lovely map of the grounds that shows the trails through the woods and the location of each tree and shrub in the Memorial Garden. This map will serve as a template on which to mark areas where future changes may be made, such as invasive plants to be removed and the potential location for solar panels. Eventually, a large map will be displayed in the church so people will know about the Nature Trail, Labyrinth, and Memorial Garden.

Marj Lightner is leading a Working Group to focus on plans for the Memorial Garden, which include updating brochures and developing alternatives to tree planting. In January, Cybelle Shattuck and Julia Kirkwood will work with the Building and Grounds Committee to address some of the maintenance challenges and lay out plans for increasing use of our outdoor church.

If you would like to participate in these activities, please contact Marj (skiporie@yahoo.com) or Cybelle (cybelle.shattuck@wmich.edu).

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