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Chicopee UMC constructs prayer garden
Congregation and community has a quiet place to meditate
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Chicopee United Methodist Church prayer garden dedication

When: After 11 a.m. service May 3

Where: Chicopee United Methodist Church, 3 First St., Gainesville

How much: Free

Contact: 770-536-4724

Prayer is the act of Christians talking or petitioning God regarding their hopes, dreams, struggles and frustrations.

And while many believers know they may pray anytime and anywhere, the members of Chicopee United Methodist Church in Gainesville wanted a quiet and specific place for prayer. More accurately, the church — which was established in 1927 — has always dreamed of having a prayer garden.

“Years ago people would donate money for a loved one (who) had passed on,” church member Jean Kuehn said. “The money sat in the treasury for a while until someone did something about it.”

One “someone” included Kuehn, plus her husband, Terry, and the couple’s son, Seth. The 20-year church members tackled the project after the church finally decided to build and design their prayer garden last fall.

“(The Kuehns) were the ones that were instrumental in getting this garden together and done after years of thinking about it,” Pastor Susan Maddox said.

Terry Kuehn developed the garden’s design with input from others while Seth Kuehn constructed it, except for one piece.

“My husband put an illuminating light in the room that the stained glass will be in, so it’ll be on a timer,” Jean Kuehn said. “And the light will actually illuminate a white cross and dogwood flowers.”

Other church members helped finance the garden through contributions, including a recent influx of money from family members of one congregant who recently died.

“Herman Day recently passed two weeks ago,” Jean Kuehn said. “A lot of contributions (that) are coming in now are from his family.”

Thanks to the contributions and physical labor of the Kuehn family, the garden is complete, minus a stained glass window. It will be dedicated May 3 to “all the saints of Chicopee United Methodist Church.”

“It gives a very visible reminder to all of us, and of those whose foundation we are standing on,” Maddox said. “Folks have invested parts of their lives into this congregation and made this church what it is today.”

The small church and its 30 members now will have “a very visible reminder that we need to pray,” the pastor said.

“Our church family is very strong and devoted and the garden is a manifestation of that,” Jean Kuehn said.

But the garden is not only for members; it is for the community.

“We hope that anyone in the community will use the prayer garden,” Maddox said. “Anyone in the community, who just wants to pray or to think.”

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