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Bethany Gardens poised to grow thanks to generosity of donors

From Seed to Fruit

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.—John 12:24

At the Gardens of Bethany, many grains of wheat have fallen into the earth, thanks to the generosity of our donors. To date we have raised $303,960 in cash donations and $156,129 in pledge donations for the installation of the Prairie Garden, Culinary Gardens, and St. Simon’s Chapel. We are also well on the way to raising enough money for a small meditation garden next to Upton Hall. We are so grateful to all who have contributed and with great excitement, we now turn our attention to the next phase of making this vision a reality. 

Proposed culinary garden at Bethany Place
Graphic rendering of Culinary Garden, featuring outdoor classroom and gathering space.

We will hire a Garden and Sustainability Coordinator and interns who will care for them, and teach members of the diocese and our neighbors. The interns and coordinator will assist Rev. Jenn Allen with the programs for our many partners—schools, centers, the neighborhood improvement association, and others. The coordinator will also guide the many volunteers who have already pledged their time and talent. While the interns will be instrumental in tending the gardens, they will be nurtured, learn new skills, and grow in knowledge of community organizing, resilience, and sustainable practices. 

With the right staff members in place, we will be able to raise up earth stewards in the community and the diocese. As programs grow, the gardens will be able to serve as a resource for the entire diocese and beyond. Bethany Garden can serve as a central hub and model for other sites around the diocese — both church property and land owned by Episcopalians — similarly dedicated to nature-based practices and spiritual principles. 

We will also be able to expand our reach into the local community of Topeka, and nearby schools who are already our partners, serving as a center for healing. We can imagine 12-step programs, local mental health organizations, and trauma survivors experiencing meditation, rest, and recovery in our gardens. 

In March, we will celebrate the ground-breaking with great joy. The paths will be laid, water-smart irrigation systems installed, beds prepared, and plants placed. The seeds that have been gifted to us will be nurtured with light, water, and compost. The grounds will greet our community and diocese with hospitality, beauty, healing, and education. Programs will expand, gardens will be tended, and the fruits of this ministry will be even more evident. 

If you would like to help with these next important stages of development for Bethany House and Garden, please consider a contribution. You can donate online at episcopal-ks.org/donate by selecting “Bethany House and Garden maintenance and ministry fund.”

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