Our Meditation Gardens are composed of five different areas (Prayer Labyrinth, Way of the Cross, Garden Chapel, Memorial Garden, and Baby Memorial) on the southwest portion of our campus. Each is designed to foster a sense of reflection and contemplation, prayer and peace.
St. Mark’s Prayer Labyrinth offers space for personal contemplation and group celebration. It is a worship aid for finding quiet time in an intentional way. A walk on the labyrinth’s circular path is historically thought of as a journey toward understanding God’s presence and activity in our lives. The physical act of walking creates rhythms that encourage the brain to focus, a transition between “doing” and “being.” Our unique path is designed in the Chartres style, with a sheltering Palo Verde tree in its center. Bricks outline an aggregate path that can accommodate wheelchairs as well as walkers. Six benches surrounding the tree have mosaics that symbolically depict the six days of creation.
Way of the Cross
St. Mark’s Way of the Cross is modeled after the traditional Christian Stations of the Cross, in that it has fourteen stopping places and offers a structure for meditative worship. The original Stations mark the places where Jesus stopped while carrying his cross to crucifixion. Pilgrims are asked to focus on the ways to be Christ-like in their lives.
Our Way of the Cross allows walkers to meditate on a spiritually-charged word while resting on a bench at each site. A beautiful iron cross symbolically illustrates the word that is etched into a stone marking the site. A brochure is available at the start of the Way to help guide your meditation. Our path provides a multi-sensory view of the natural world of the desert. As you wander the path, you are called to wonder about God’s presence beside you.
Outdoor Garden Chapel
The Outdoor Garden Chapel is designed to provide a worshipful space for small gatherings. It may be used for memorial services, weddings, or special family gatherings. Arrangements for its use can be coordinated through the church office. Memorials may be made by placing a bronze plaque in memory of someone on the benches in the outdoor chapel. Plaques may be purchased by contacting the church office.
The Memorial Garden, located in the southwest corner of the church property, is a part of the total ministry of our church. It provides quiet meditation areas for individuals to use for rest, spiritual renewal, and discernment of hope. As we remember our loved ones, offering their memory to God, and contemplate our own spiritual journeys, we may experience a healing love that renews our faith and releases us to living again in a new way.
Niches provide space for the cremains of a loved one. The existing saltillo tile is removed and the cremains are placed inside. A granite plaque with the name, date of birth, and death is placed over the niche. The west wall of the garden provides a designated area for burial of cremains in the ground directly beneath the wall. Granite plaques, mounted on the west wall, provide a place for the name of the loved one, along with the date of birth and death.
The inside wall of the chapel in the garden provides a place for bronze plaques honoring the memory of loved ones interred elsewhere. The plaques list the name of the loved one, along with the date of birth and death.
Memorial Gifts. One way to remember our loved ones is to give a gift in their memory. The Memorial Gardens and Garden Chapel were constructed with the help of such gifts. Memorial gifts are still welcomed to provide for the continuing maintenance and care of this ministry.
Baby Memorial. The round planter in the center of the Memorial Garden provides a place to honor the memory of infants under one year old. The turquoise and gold plaques, listing the name and date of birth and death, are placed around the outside of the planter. Inside it, flowers are planted and tended by volunteers, including those who have purchased a plaque in their baby’s memory.