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Sacred garden at Holy Trinity designed to be shared by ‘everyone, everywhere, anytime’

Those who gathered at Greenport’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Church Sunday morning for worship enjoyed a new addition to the property that is also a gift to the Greenport village community.

“This is a gift to the entire community and we want everybody to share in it,” the Rev. Roger Joslin said. He is the vicar of the church and also of Church of the Redeemer in Mattituck.

The new addition, called a “garth,” is described by the church as “a new, sacred garden for everyone, everywhere, anytime” in a flyer to announce the dedication ceremony that happened Sunday.

The space is an octagonal courtyard at the front of the Main Street church and connects to the side of the church building. 

Its purpose as a sacred garden is meant to draw in the community and those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious and have them feel included.

“Our ambition is that people all over this town will say when they’re going to meet somebody, ‘let’s meet at the garth,’ and they’ll come here and enjoy a contemplative place to sit, a place to kind of escape a little bit from the business of Greenport,” the Rev. Joslin said. “It’s partially a threshold into the holy … some people will find their way into the church through this threshold; many others, who are the folks who call themselves spiritual but not religious … will find themselves here and find a place to be with the divine.”

The garth is decorated with benches and plants with a stone fountain in the center. The fountain was used for the first time Sunday to baptize three children into the church, Shaine Davis Rudder-Garber, Elliot Amelia Elkin and Remy Eloise Elkin.

Preparations for the garth project had been going on since the winter, according to the Rev. Joslin.

“Many volunteers worked hard and [we had] a very supportive congregation that understood the purpose, knew what we were doing was a gift to the larger community, not just something we’re doing for ourselves,” the Rev. Joslin said. 

An event committee organized the dedication ceremony that followed the Mass. The event included food both outside in the garth and indoors. 

The Rev. Joslin thanked the financial contributors who made the project possible, among whom was Peter Treiber, who also helped with the church’s Common Ground Community Garden. He also thanked the three-person committee that oversaw the project, the surveyor Nathan Corwin, the landscape team and more. 

“There’s been an awful lot of effort and work and generosity that’s gone into creating this beautiful space,” the Rev. Joslin said.

The dedication ceremony also featured music at the garth, including songs by the combined choirs of Holy Trinity and Church of the Redeemer.

Colin Palmer, who sang with the choir during the Mass, said the way the event has joined the community together is inspiring.

“The fact that it’s so many different parts of the community all coming together … that’s the thing that I think is so wonderful about a community group like this; that is, it’s not a religious organization that is about ‘look at how we are so much better than everyone else,’ It’s not about elevating yourself, it’s about being open to everybody and I think it’s such a beautiful kind of event to be able to have,” he said.

The Rev. Joslin described the community feedback as “tremendous.”

“It’s amazing how many people I’ve talked to and have been encouraged by this and love it,” he said.