Goshen Baptist Church creates prayer garden

Published 10:41 pm Thursday, July 19, 2012

When W.O. Sanders of Goshen retired from the ministry, he knew that he would always be involved in doing the Lord’s work. That can be done in many different ways.

Whether it’s a prayer whispered on the creek bank while waiting for a fish to strike, or in a woodworking shop making a frame for a copy of a favorite scripture for a friend, there’s always something one can do.

Goshen Baptist Church is Sanders’ home church and it’s also a church where he served as interim pastor for a while.

Goshen Baptist Church has its own "rock of ages." (Photo/Jaine Treadwell)

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In his thinking, Sanders had the idea for a way to beautify the church grounds. He thought a garden area would be a nice addition and would also add to the townscape of Goshen.

Sanders has four score or more of well-attended knockout roses that are show stoppers on Goshen’s Glenwood Road – visible evidence of his ability to make the garden a reality.

Sanders presented the idea for the garden to church members and they took it and ran with him.

“The idea of the garden was to add physical beauty to the church but it has become more than that,” Sanders said.

Sanders said three church members, Cathy Wilkes, Patsy Sanders and Linda Johnson, were key in making the garden a reality and more than just a garden.

“Linda laid out the design and the ladies picked out the plants to go in the garden,” he said. “Individual church members made financial contributions to the garden and they were greatly appreciated.”

As the garden began to take shape, it also began to have meaning – spiritual meaning. A cross should be the focal point of a church garden so Sanders went to the woods.

“A cedar tree was just what we needed for the cross,” he said.

And he made one.

Other symbols of faith and hope found places in the garden.

“In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says, ‘Upon this rock I will build my church,’ so Oscar and Patsy Sanders donated a large rock from the grounds of their home – our ‘rock of ages.’

“There’s a song in the Baptist hymnal that says, ‘My anchor holds for my anchor grips the rock,’ so we wanted an anchor for the garden.”

Sanders forged one.

The cross, which is a symbol of faith that all Christians recognize, the ‘rock of ages’ and an anchor that grips the rock give spiritual meaning to the garden. The flowers and plants are examples of the wonders of God’s world.

A place such as that is more than a garden, the church members decided. It’s a prayer garden.

“We have a bench in the garden where people can come to pray, to meditate or just enjoy the beauty of God’s world,” Sanders said. “It can be used for special occasions – we just had a wedding there – or quiet reflection.

And, it’s for everybody. Not just Goshen Baptist Church. The prayer garden is for silent communication with the Lord. We invite people to use it for that purpose.”