‘Almost Heaven West Virginia Garden’ to be created on Wheeling Island


A Methodist minister, a Jewish rabbi and a Greek Orthodox priest met an urban garden planner, and decided to create a Biblical botanical garden.

It all started when the New Life Methodist Church congregation bought three lots–at 119 South Huron Street, planning to build their new church there.

But they couldn’t find a builder who could do the project within their budget.

In the meantime, they discovered a former church at the northern tip of Wheeling island that was for sale, and it was perfect for their needs–and their budget.

So they bought it.

What would they do with their original property on South Huron Street?

It will be used to bring Bible stores to life.

Stories about the apple in the Garden of Eden, the Fig leaf and the mustard seed will now have a place to grow.

Rabbi Joshua Lief of Temple Shalom says the Bible is an old book that sometimes doesn’t speak to us.

But he says when we see and touch and smell the fragrant plants from the Bible, it will bring to life the words on the page.

The Rev. Dr. Earnest Watkins of the New Life Methodist Church, recalls the tiny mustard seed that represented all the faith you need in order to enter Heaven.

Dr. Margaret Graynovsky, a member of the Temple Shalom, says she sunflowers are her favorite flower because they lift our spirits and are yummy to eat, too.

Father Michael Ziebarth of the Life Giving Fountain Greek Orthodox Church in Martins Ferry, says the cross of Christ was discovered by St. Helen when she was harvesting fragrant basil.

And sunflowers are the centerpiece of the garden.

Marty Wach, director of Urban Homesteading, says he planted the largest variety of sunflower.

He says they’re so tall, they can probably be seen from space.

And there is another possible component to the property–a pilot project that could allow veterans to acquire tiny houses.

All the clergy members agree it would make a wonderful space to hold an inter-faith service in the fresh air and sunshine.

They say they’ll start building the garden in the spring.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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