Shepherd of the Hills Memorial Garden


The following text was recited to describe the garden and reflect on its many meanings at the time of its dedication as a place of memory, spirituality, and healing:  "If a single word were used to describe this garden it would be  “journey”.  It was a journey in its creation from an overgrown, forgotten water filtration pond, to a place of peaceful contemplation; through the starts and stops of design and redesign, the permitting process, bidding, and finally construction, to bring it to the place that exists today.  But in the creation of a garden the journey  never ends.  As the ivy creeps over the naked walls, and the trees grow to their full stature, taking on new and greater forms, the garden will be forever evolving, a journey marked by the changing seasons of time.

“Journey” is also the concept that guided the design of the garden, representing the path through one’s life and God’s presence along that journey.  (.......Continued below)


At the entrance to the garden the stone path curves and embraces the first of four large sandstone boulders, engraved with the word “Love”.  Love marks the beginning.  As the trees along the path grow and become more dense to enclose this space, one will barely be able to glimpse the “Faith” boulder through the scrim they will create.  Faith, hard to see, yet to be fully formed, but ever present on our journey. 

As one proceeds along the path, “Faith” comes more clearly into view.   As the feather grass planted at its base dances in the slightest of breezes,  the massive weight of this boulder appears to float just above the  planted  mound beneath it.

Continuing further along the path one is presented with the raw steel walls of the Community Vessel.  A narrow vertical opening between two of the panels provides a glimpse into the interior of the Vessel.  “Hope” inhabits this space, it is here one finds the third boulder, an altar of sorts.

Arriving in the gathering area of the garden, there stands three shadow box screens, with the entrance to the Community Vessel to the left.  The screens create a backdrop for formal gatherings and a place for individuals to leave mementos when they visit.

Inside the Vessel, the walls are lined with the names of all those within the church community who have gone before us. Each individual name, in succession, creating a continuous line, another journey, through time, in Death.  As one stands within the Vessel walls, contemplating the words inscribed there, one can view the fourth and final "Grace" boulder.  “Grace” sits in a clearing upon a small rise, inaccessible to visitors.  Water flows like a small spring from with it, tracing a path along its face and ending in a surround of flowering native perennial plantings. In the end, there is Grace, beyond the wall in the realm of God alone.

From "Grace, a line of white fossil stone leads us visually back to the beginning, to  the “Love” boulder, and brings us full circle in our journey."