Bethlehem passed a proposal at the February 2022 business meeting to fund the first phase of a Memorial Garden to be built on the church grounds. This will be a multi-use patio area that will be constructed on the east side of the Family Life Center in the elevated grassy area just to the left of the double glass doors. It will contain a mix of raised flower beds, benches, tables and other landscape features as well as a memorial plaque containing the names of past Bethlehem members whose friends/families donated funds to the garden in their memory. Following is the plan presented to the church:
How it Came About
Toward the end of July 2020, Trissa Fletcher sent a text to a select group of people with one of her last requests. She wanted this group to oversee the creation of a memorial garden at Bethlehem Baptist Church. In this garden, she wanted there to be an area with landscaping & flowers where we could make church announcement videos along with cut flowers grown for BBC showers & events. She also wanted people to give memorials toward this garden at her funeral. A little over $2000 was raised for this project.
This group, consisting of James & Treslyn Fletcher, Jayna & Brian Harvison, Laura & Larry McGee and Karen Hall, began meeting in 2021 to start coming up with ideas of what this proposed garden would look like. After looking at areas around the church, two areas were chosen as possible sites for this garden. The first was inside of the secured courtyard and the second was in the elevated grassy area to the south of the FLC glass double doors along the east wall of the FLC.
A basic plan was put together for the secured courtyard area and submitted to NBMC of Greenbrier for a quote for basic concrete work. It would consist of a concrete pad on which the garden would be constructed. It also required moving the storm drain. The quote came back at $21,000. The group deemed that this area would be too expensive to pursue.
A plan was then put together for the area outside the east wall of the FLC. This would consist of an area 42 ft L x 16 ft W. It would be mostly concrete with a combination of raised garden beds, planters, benches, small tables, lighting and an open area in the middle. It would resemble more of a multifunction patio that could be used for classes, events and fellowship. The garden beds and planters will contain a mix of evergreen shrubs and flowering plants.
The Proposed Plan
It will be called the Bethlehem Memorial Garden (BMG). It will be a multi-use area where people can come to sit and remember loved ones, fellowship with one another and meet for classes or events.
One of the features of the garden will be a Memorial Plaque. Donations of any size can be made to the BMG in memory of past church members to have their names added to the plaque. The donations will be used to purchase planned items for the garden and its upkeep. There will also be a new Memorial Section added to the BBC website with these names and short biographies containing a little bit about their life & their contributions to the church.
The BMG will be created in stages:
In the first stage, it is proposed that the church pay for the basic, foundational items such as the concrete pad, handrail, electrical, irrigation and the raised garden flower beds. This will total around $8000.
The second stage will be flowers and shrubs for the garden beds. Part of the $2000 already raised will be used for this.
The third stage will be additional elements such as the background panels behind the beds, overhead lighting, flower planters, benches, tables, etc. The rest of the $2000 already raised plus the additional donations raised will pay for this. This stage will total around $8000.
There will also be a new team created to oversee the construction and upkeep of the garden. It is suggested that the members of this committee will be the original people of the group. They will initially be responsible for overseeing the construction of the garden. It will be a combination of work from church members and hired contractors. After completion, they will be responsible for planting and maintaining the garden beds & planters. They will also facilitate the use of donations, update the memorial plaque & website, and keep up with maintenance & repairs of the area.
If approved by the church, construction will begin as soon as possible to start plantings this spring.