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Peace garden and more greets United Methodist members

Linda Stoffer, a member of the trustee committee of the Hudson United Methodist Church, suggested the church consider beautifying the entrance of the building by creating a peace garden.

No sooner had she offered the suggestion but the committee decided she would be the one to get the ball rolling, and once it started rolling it just kept on going.

Stoffer and her husband, C.J., started the work in late April, along with dozens of other church members. The project included removing overgrown shrubs, cutting down trees, removing landscape rock and cutting sod just to prepare the site. Then came the tilling, fertilizing, planting and mulching.

Now, three months later, the project is basically complete with C.J. installing the last stepping stone last week.

Nearly 70 varieties of plants have been introduced to the garden areas. Also installed were a new sign, a peace pole donated by Gary and Nancy Briske and a bench.

"It just all came together," said Linda Stoffer, who has a background in the floral industry, creating bouquets and arrangements out of silk and dried flowers at her own business when the couple lived in Iowa.

"It was a blessing for us to have something to do," said C.J., who is undergoing chemotherapy after a second surgery for cancer.

The couple moved to Hudson three years ago and still marvel at how friendly everyone is.

On Sundays after services, members now linger and visit in the area of the peace garden, which remains a work in progress with ideas for additions next year such as a fountain and a cross for the building.

"It seems like the project had brought a lot of people and ideas together," said C.J.

"It is a communal project," said Linda. "If you see a weed, just go ahead and pull it, and if a plant needs to be watered, just do it."

In the meantime the Stoffers check the garden daily and sometimes just pause on the bench to reflect what they and their fellow church members have created.

"It was done by the glory of God," said Linda.