UU Church Today, Practice & Voice, BeyondBelief

The Fountain is a healing place & ours is fully restored

Since the Garden Team re-launch, the generous folks who spend their time rebuilding the soil, tending to the plants, and caring for the Earth of our church have accomplished another huge milestone in the restoration of the Memorial Garden. The church fountain, originally gifted to All Souls by Charles and Maryjo Wheeler, has been beautifully restored with special thanks to Meacham Wheeler.

“The fountain is a healing place.”
—Terry Lastinger

Terry Lastinger, Garden Team member and retired horticulturalists, and David Truelove, led the effort with the support of facilities staff, JoJo Ogundare, Arron Matzenbacher, and Jerry Burleson. Local masonry experts at Tulsa Masonry Design rebuilt the brick around the fountain basin, with a special Midnight Blue paint layered in the interior. J & J Powder Coating worked long hours to sand blast off old paint and rust from the cast iron fountain before a white powder coating was applied and heated to 800 degrees. Garden Team members provided labor to paint an epoxy coating onto the sides and bottom of the basin.

Terry and David Truelove successfully raised the fountain from the basin for J & J to add the coating and returned the fountain to the center of the basin, with new plumbing, pump, and power cord. The project included the removal, transportation, loading, and resetting this cherished monument. This was not a small feat and they have a lot to be proud of.

The plants in the fountain, Water Lettuce and Water Hyacinths, will be replaced each spring and there are ten hardy goldfish who will hibernate over the winter. “There are lights in the basin and I imagine how beautiful it will be with floating candles for special evening events like weddings or Christmas Eve Candle Light services. Let’s hope or another mild winter on Christmas Eve again this year,” Kathy Hinkle, Chair of the Garden Team said.

Slide the arrows for before & after

Maintenance on the fountain is an ongoing effort, as is the continued work on the soil and smaller gardens throughout the church grounds. All are welcome to join the Garden Team on Wednesdays, starting as early as 8 am to beat the heat, and the team adjusts as the seasons change. No experience is necessary, simply come in through the Memorial Garden gate— every so often or every week. “If Wednesdays don’t work for you, or there are other areas on the grounds where you want to work, go for it! That is what Steve Ludiker and Scott Swearingen have been doing and they are accomplishing a lot! If hands-on gardening is not possible, we would still love to have you come to our monthly indoor meeting on the 2nd Wednesday at 1:30 pm. Just bring your love for gardening and your love for our All Souls Gardens!” Kathy said.

Special thanks for their work and time on this project: Terry Lastinger, David Truelove, Angela Dixon, Dorothy Davis, Peggy O’Neil, Roberta Hovis, Jackie Wofford, Dennis Neill, Shirley Scott, and Kathy Hinkle.

We’d also like to thank the Building Team led by Dennis Grote for the work on sanding and refinishing all of the benches on our church grounds. Now, you can enjoy the Garden and visit with friends at church with a beautiful place to sit!

Here’s what serving on the Garden Team means to some of the members:

 “Restoring our Memorial Garden has involved a lot of work, literally rebuilding the soil from the ground up. That part will be invisible to all those who will enjoy the outcome for decades to come but that makes it worth all our time.”

 — Peggy O’Neil

“Working in the Garden gives me the calm and serenity that I need to work through my grief. I am grateful for that.”

— Angela Dixon

“Some of my friends’ ashes are in this Garden so it is so meaningful to see such a beautiful restoration and be a part of it.”

— Dennis Neal

“Being outside in nature was always the safest place to be and I have enjoyed the friends I have made and the results of our work.”

— Dorothy Davis

The Garden Team gathers each Wednesday as early as 8 am in the Memorial Garden, weather permitting, 50 degrees and up. On the second Wednesday at 1:30 pm each month, they meet inside or by Zoom to catch up on what’s going on and make future plans. If you’re interested, please join us, we’d love to welcome you. If you have any questions, reach out to Kathy Hinkle, Hinkle.KB@gmail.com.