Those who gathered at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Greenport on Sunday morning for worship enjoyed a new addition to the property which is also a gift to the Greenport Village community.
The new addition, called “garth”, is described by the church as “a new sacred garden for everyone, anywhere, anytime” in a flyer announcing the groundbreaking ceremony which took place on Sunday.
The space is an octagonal courtyard at the front of the church from Main Street and connects to the side of the church building.
Its purpose as a sacred garden is to attract the community and those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious and make them feel included.
“Our ambition is for people all over the city to say when they’re going to meet someone, ‘Let’s meet at the Garth,’ and they’ll come here and enjoy a contemplative place to sit, a place to escape a sort of a bit of Greenport business,” Reverend Joslin said. “Part of it is a threshold in the saint…some people will find their way into the church through that threshold; many others, who are the people who call themselves spiritual but not religious…will find themselves here and find a place to be with the divine.
The garden is decorated with benches and plants with a stone fountain in the center. The fountain was first used on Sunday to baptize three children into the church, Shaine Davis Rudder-Garber, Elliot Amelia Elkin and Remy Eloise Elkin.
Preparations for Project Garth had been ongoing since the winter, according to Reverend Joslin.
“Many volunteers have worked hard and [we had] a very supportive congregation that understood the purpose, knew that what we were doing was a gift to the wider community, not just something we are doing for ourselves,” Reverend Joslin said.
An event committee organized the dedication ceremony which followed the mass. The event included food outside in the garden and inside.
Reverend Joslin thanked the financial contributors who made the project possible, including Peter Treiber, who also helped with the church’s Common Ground Community Garden. He also thanked the three-person committee that oversaw the project, surveyor Nathan Corwin, the landscape crew and more.
“There has been so much effort, hard work and generosity that has gone into creating this beautiful space,” Reverend Joslin said.
The dedication ceremony also featured music at the Garth, including songs from the combined choirs of the Holy Trinity and the Church of the Redeemer.
Colin Palmer, who sang with the choir during the mass, said the way the event brought the community together is inspiring.
“The fact that there are so many different parts of the community coming together… that’s what I find so wonderful about a community group like this; i.e. it’s not a religious organization whose purpose is “look how we’re so much better than everyone else”, it’s not about lifting you up, it’s about to be open to everyone and I think it’s such a beautiful kind of event to be able to have,” he said.
Reverend Joslin described community feedback as “tremendous”.
“It’s amazing how many people I’ve spoken to who have been encouraged by this and loving it,” he said.