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Albright United Methodist Church's memorial garden transformed to beauty

Nancy Henry | For the Daily Courier
The memorial garden at Albright United Methodist Church has been redone. Seated is Bob Adey who donated the angel in memory of his wife Eleanor. Standing is Bev Lamb, who took on the project and the Rev. Steven Lamb, new pastor of the church.

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By Nancy Henry
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 9:01 p.m.

A beautiful transformation has taken place at Albright United Methodist Church, and it is outside where everyone who passes by can enjoy it.

The memorial garden that was neglected and thought by many to be in need of doing away with became one of the very first projects that Bev Lamb wanted to take on when she and her husband, the Rev. Steven Lamb, were welcomed to minister at the South Connellsville church in July.

“We have so many things going on here. We just celebrated our 114th anniversary, and we have a new pastor. Rev. Lamb's wife had a vision for our garden. It was all overgrown with weeds when they came here,” said Elsie Beal, administrative assistant for 17 years at Albright.

“I've called it the prayer garden. I first noticed it online when we were planning to move here. When we arrived, I asked about getting to work on the garden, and Bob Adey told me to ‘dig in,'” Bev Lamb said. “I am grateful for all the folks who volunteered to help. We all spent many hours transforming this space. There are probably 75 hardy mums that we planted. They are blooming now and will come back every year. Church members donated money toward the project.

“We called it ‘operation restoration.' It was on my heart that in today's society, with it being so hectic and busy, we need a place where we can come and relax and have a place of peace. There is a memorial circle there in the garden for Caleb Reagan that is very touching,” said Lamb.

The Christian flag and the American flag that fly over the garden were donated in memory of Wendell Fisher by his son Douglas.

The touch came in the form of a beautiful angel to add to the newly redone garden.

“Eleanor Adey, a member here, recently passed away. Her husband, Bob, wanted to do something special in her memory, and so the angel is now a focal point in her honor and in her memory,” Beal said. “Her favorite flowers were pink roses. There were rosebushes in need of attention. Bev trimmed them back, and now there are pink roses blooming right beside Eleanor's angel.”

“I can't take credit for the idea of the angel. My daughters thought of it. I thought it was a fabulous idea, and I think the angel's face looks like Eleanor. Two of the mums planted here are from her funeral,” said Bob Adey.

“Bev was out there working almost every day, and many folks pitched in to help. Some just an hour or two or maybe a couple times a week. But the volunteers were a big help in creating the new garden,” Beal said. “Randy Fisher donated the mulch, and it is piled high to add to the beauty.

“The mums and the rosebushes are bright and colorful, and Bev is planting tulip bulbs, so we'll have those to look forward to in the spring. She loves working in the garden, and it shows in the amazing transformation. There was old ground pine underneath that also needed taken out, and several members worked at getting it out. That was a big job in itself. Countless hours were spent. Bev started the project in early August, and now it is done, and it is wonderful,” said Beal.

The anniversary of South Connellsville's only church is celebrated every year on the last Sunday in September. At that time the congregation remembers deceased members and friends and recognizes 50-year members. This year there were three who reached that milestone.

“We are proud of our heritage here, and we are so happy that our church has gotten new life,” said Beal.

The church will hold a chicken and biscuit dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday. Everyone is welcome.

For more information on church services and fellowship, call 724-628-7130.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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