Garden Church brings nature to the city

Published: Monday June 21, 2021

A bee approaching a flowerSt Catharine’s Church in Gloucester held a Garden Church event this month, combining a short service with a nature treasure hunt, growing flowers, making a prayer tree and building bug hotels.

As well as helping the church to move towards gaining their Silver Eco Church Award, it also gave them the chance to invite the families they had been sharing food with over lockdown to come along and spend time with the church family.

Organiser Henrietta Cozens said, “We are a church near the city centre, so do not have a big graveyard or much space. Most of our land is actually occupied by the church building, hall and small car park. However we do have a garden area around two sides of the church building plus a small, but precious, remembrance garden. Garden church was designed to worship God, bring people together and help us appreciate, sustain and grow our local garden ecosystem.”

Vicar Jo Pestell with the prayer treeRegular worshippers flocked to the sessions, with one person saying that in 25 years of worship with the church, this was the first time they had ever been into the church garden.

Another congregation member said, “Plants have use, but also some have beauty and there is merit in valuing both! I appreciate this reminder as I can be a bit utilitarian and task focused in what I value, but through the beauty in creation, and in what people create through art, I am reminded to also value creative expression and beauty in itself.”

And people passing the church were keen to see what was happening and to join in with some of the activities.

Henrietta said, “Until now, our garden has not been used by many people, apart from the gardener, and those coming to place flowers by the ashes of loved ones. In the future, we’d like to change that and this is the start of seeing that change.

People serving refreshments“Perhaps we could invite children in to make bird feeders and plant flowers. Perhaps we can involve those who would appreciate the social connection and improved mental health that being in a more natural environment offers…”

St Catharine’s started work on their Eco Church Bronze award last Autumn, and realised as they filled in the initial questionnaire that they had already achieved Bronze level. They are now well on their way to Silver level.

If you’re interested in getting started on the Eco Church Award Scheme, why not come along to one of our Getting Started Zoom events. The next getting started events are on 23 September 2021. Click here to find out more —>


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