When the first flush of spring and summer flowers bloom, who doesn’t want to stop and smell the roses? So a rose garden planted as a heartwarming invitation to a church is a chance to witness to the beauty of God’s creation.
Enter Bethlehem Lutheran Church, in the Perth suburb of Morley. Four years ago, its large grassed block received a magnificent makeover.
Foundation members Ewald Schmidt, known as Wally, and his wife Ruth felt a push from Creation’s Chief Gardener to build a rose garden in a well-used thoroughfare to the local primary school and park.
‘The church garden looked a bit sad and it brought tears to our eyes’, said Ruth. ‘And God said “don’t stand there, do something”.’
So despite professing no green thumbs, the retired couple aged 86 and 83 respectively, did just that.
‘As we are not fenced off from our neighbourhood, not only is it a testament to all the beauty of God’s creation, it provides a lovely wider witness to caring for God’s creation and the joy God gives us through serving each other’, says Bethlehem’s Pastor Matt Bishop.
Who would have thought a garden ministry could be created simply from proud perfumed stands of roses?
After 66 years of marriage, the Schmidts are inseparable in their weekly toil – pruning, trimming, fertilising, watering and tidying. ‘We get an old pillow and kneel side by side – never too far from each other’, says Ruth.
And they feel the Chief Gardener is with them, as they care for the roses. ‘We are just presenting God’s creation’, says Ruth. ‘When we come home, we are not tired, we feel great. We’ve been working in God’s creation.’
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