Woods Grounds & Gardens

 

 

Genesis 1:11-12

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind and the tree yielding fruit whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Grounds

Church

Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church is the largest church in the Baltimore Presbytery with more than 2,000 members. It was founded by the Reverend Frank Churchill Woods in 1912 with 8 members meeting in the local elementary school. The congregation quickly outgrew the one-room school house and in 1913 the first sanctuary (now Founders Room) was dedicated and 'the little church on the hill' became a beacon to the community. In 1992 a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the current church structure and was completed in 1993. The Rev. Dr. Susan DeWyngaert accepted a call to serve as Senior Pastor as Head of Staff in 2011.

     

Ebenezer Stone

Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. he named it Ebenezer (which means the "stone of help"). for he said, "Up to this point the LORD has helped us!"

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a rock and a stone? If I see a rock in the woods or wherever, it's called a 'rock' but if I take it from its natural place and put it in my garden, it's called a 'stone.' The rock itself hasn't changed but what it is being used for has. That is why its name has changed. Many times in the Bible a stone or a pile of stones has been used as a reminder of how God has helped someone. An Ebenezer stone uses something physical to remind us of spiritual truth, especially God's faithfulness and goodness; it can be anything that reminds us of how God has helped us. Reflect on how God has helped you.

Bell

While it is not the first original bell, this bell was installed in the Woods bell tower circa 1950, and was struck by lightning in 1987. Both the tower and the bell were damaged. A new bell was then installed and the damaged bell was placed on the grounds as an exhibit. The current pergola was designed by Elder Dale Moeller and mounted in 2012, in honor of Woods Centennial.

   

Centennial Cross

The Children's Centennial Cross was decorated by the Sunday School children with ceramic tiles with Bible and Woods Church history themes in honor of the year-long Centennial Celebration that began in 2011. The names of the children who helped are on the sign in front of the cross. The cross was put up in 2012 in a special dedication ceremony.

           

Holy Grounds Amphitheater

This was constructed through the combined effort of five different Eagle Scouts and their families: Matthew Brenneman, Matthew Hasson, Michael Bacot, Eric Carassanesi, and Samuel Allen. They created it so that Woods Church, and specifically the children of Woods, would have a place outside to go for Sunday School or activities. They wanted them to be able to engaged with, and be surrounded by nature and God's creation. The amphitheater seats 100 people and can be used for boy scout meetings, sunrise services, Sunday school classes, or other multi-purpose group gatherings.

 

 

 

Gardens

About our Gardens

Have you noticed our gardens at Woods? Lots of new plants are blooming, and birds and butterflies are everywhere. Woods Church is an Earth Care Congregation in the PCUSA and a River-Wise Congregation in the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards program, so we are working hard to be responsible stewards of the gardens, lawns and woodlands that make up our property. We are trying to reduce our storm water runoff wherever possible and support our native bird and pollinator populations using native trees, shrubs and plants.  We no longer use herbicides or pesticides on our gardens and lawn areas, we do not fertilize the grass in the spring, and we are planting native plants in our gardens and grounds wherever possible to absorb storm water and provide food and habitat for our native birds, insects and pollinators.  We are thankful for the native oak trees, red and silver maples, sweet gum, dogwoods, American holly and Eastern redbud trees that exist on our property.  

Woods gardeners have masterfully incorporated native plants to preserve the balance and beauty of our local natural ecosystem.  We planted black eyed Susan’s, and cone flowers for seed eating birds.  We planted cardinal flowers, butterfly weed, joe pye weed, white turtlehead and milkweed for butterflies and hummingbirds – the list provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service of native flowers and shrubs for the Chesapeake Bay watershed is extensive. We planted native shrubs such as American beautyberry, lowbush blueberry and viburnum for their berries that nourish birds, and silky dogwood, sweet spire, smooth winterberry and spicebush for their high wildlife value. These native plants are so essential in supporting our birds and pollinators in ways that plants alien to our ecosystem do not.

We give tours to show people the many native flowers, shrubs, and trees, and we have marked the plant species with ID tags around the property to help people identify the plants. At Woods we know that keeping natives in the landscape is vital to keeping the species we love strong and thriving; it is vital to being good stewards of our local wildlife and waterways.

Woods Church was recently honored by the national Interfaith Power & Light organization with their first place award for "Cool Congregations" in the Sacred Grounds category for the storm water and native plant efforts that we have made on our campus.  More information about the award is on the IPL website: https://www.coolcongregations.org/2021-sacred-grounds-winner-woods-church-loves-native-plants/

Come enjoy the beauty of our campus anytime, request a tour, or join our gardeners - we love company and no experience is necessary. Email  for more information.

Bible Garden

Genesis 1:29-31 - "God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit, you shall have them for food."

 

[In many cases the plants in our garden are the varieties nearest to the Holy Land species that can be grown here in Maryland.]

 

Bible Leaf (costmary) Chrysanthemum balsamita

Also called “alecost” because in Middle Ages it was used to spice ale for weddings and church fundraisers. In the 17th century colonists used the leaves as bookmarks in their bibles and to keep the bugs out. Tales are that they also chewed on the leaves to keep awake during the long church services.

Blueberry, berries, watermelon, cucumber, stone fruits, other fruits and vegetables – Isaiah 1:8; Numbers 11:4-6, 10

The Hebrews grew and consumed these even as slaves in Egypt, as the Nile periodically overflowed and provided rich soil. Their cucumber was the same species we grow in the US today.

Boxwood - Isaiah 60:13

To be used as wood material for rebuilding the temple.

Fig – Genesis 3:6,7; I Kings 4:25; Deuteronomy 8:8; I Samuel 25:18; Matthew 21:18; Mark 11:12; Revelation 6:13

Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves in the Garden of Eden. To “sit under one’s own vine and fig tree” was the Hebrew concept of domestic peace and tranquility.  Dried figs were taken on trips, threaded on long strings. Christ used the fig tree for many lessons about the consequences of sin.

Hyssop – (Old Testament) – 1 Kings 4:33; Exodus 12:22; Leviticus 14:4-6

Origanum aegyptiacum

A marjoram native to Egypt with hairy wiry stems, small golden flowers, and small leaves that hold water well.

Hyssop – (New Testament) – John 19:28-29

Holcus sorghum 

Jerusalem corn. A prehistoric Palestinian grain. A single seed head is large enough to supply bread for a family. Still eaten in Palestine today. 

[NOTE: This is NOT our Western herb of the same name.] 

Iris – Hosea 14:5 (Assurance of forgiveness)

Biblical Horticulturalists feel the lilies referred to here are one of the 50 kinds of iris that grow in the Holy Land.

Laurel – Psalms 37:35

Sweet Bay tree. Symbolized the prosperous wicked.

Mint – Mentha spearmint, peppermint, and pennyroyal – Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42

Used for paying tithe taxes (along with anise and cumin), also cooked with meat and used medicinally. Strewn on the temple floor. Grows wild in some areas.

Mustard – Mark 30-32. Matthew 13:31

Brassica nigra

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed…. when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs and becometh a tree…” Leaves are used as a vegetable and the seeds are ground and used to flavor food (used in our modern-day black mustard). Finches are also fond of the seeds.

Onion – Numbers 11:5-6

Papyrus – Job 8:11; Isaiah 18:1-2

The reed, cattail and papyrus were used in much of everyday life, for making flutes, pens, house building material, basketwork, and for manufacturing of boats, shoes and the inner pith sliced and made into paper. This papyrus is the dwarf form. The biblical varieties were over a foot wide in stem and 8 to 15 feet high. 

Raspberry – Exodus3:1-2

A red raspberry plant living today in a monastery in the Sinai is thought by some to be related to the original burning bush, but scholars believe it was probably one of the many wild thorny bushes on which mistletoe or similar vine-like plants climb.

Redbud – Matthew 27:5 

An American native form of cercis from which Judas Iscariot was purported to have hanged himself. [C. siliquastrum is the tree native to the Mediterranean.]

Reed – 1 Kings 14,15; Matthew 27:79; Exodus 2:3

Phragmites australis and Cattail typha

Rose of Sharon (Red tulip) – Song of Solomon 2:1

Tulipa sharonensis

Grows on the Sharon plain – a 60-mile-long region along the coastal area of Judah.

Sage – Exodus 37:17-18

“He also made a lampstand of pure gold.” The design of the menorah is taken from the branching shape of this salvia plant.

The Vine (grape) – Genesis 9:20, 40:10; Micah 4:4; Deuteronomy 24:21; John 15:1; Isaiah 5:7 and others.

Was the first plant planted by Noah after the flood receded.  In Roman times (and others) was made into wine in large stone presses, partially underground (many as large as a room) and trodden underfoot by servants. Valuable vines were guarded. The sour vinegar wine was the principal drink of Roman soldiers. Families carefully tended the family vine which took 4 years to produce grapes from cutting to fruit. Isaiah likened the vineyard of the Lord to the House of Israel. The plant became the most valued in the world when Christ declared, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”

Thyme, Parsley, Horseradish – Exodus 12:8; Numbers 9:11

Some of the bitter herbs eaten with the Hebrew Passover meal, along with lamb and unleavened bread, nuts and apples.

[Some of the plants in the garden have connections with Christian history – they are not mentioned in the texts of scripture but are associated with later Christian life and traditions. These include Rosemary (associated with Jesus’ mother Mary), Lenten Rose (the Lenten season), Lamb’s Ear (Jesus as the Lamb of God, Shepherd), and Holly (which remains green throughout winter, representing eternal life).]

 “PLANT GARDENS AND EAT WHAT THEY PRODUCE.” – Jeremiah 29:28

References include:

All the Plants of the Bible” by Winifred Walker, 1957.

Bible Plants for American Gardens” by Eleanor A. King, 1941.

          

Rain Garden

Created for the Watershed Steward Program, the rain garden diverts runoff by steering the water into the garden where it is then recharged back into the aquifer. Previously the runoff dumped into the storm drains and sewers. Now, instead, the rain garden allows the water to be naturally filtered and purified as it makes its way through the garden and ground so that the quality of the water in the Chesapeake Bay is improved, thereby improving the quality of the water we use everyday. The rain garden was spearheaded by Dale Moeller and Peter Cooper who participated in the Watershed Stewards Academy and received a grant to create the garden. It is one way Woods can help to be a good steward of the earth and be environmentally conscious and responsible.

 

Meditation Garden

Custodian Walter Ford put an ad in the Woods Church newsletter asking for someone to please come help clean up the church grounds and make it a beautiful place to be and to find refuge. This call for help and beautification began a journey where many involved in the life of the church began to capture the beauty of God's creation through gardening around the church property. Specifically, the area of the meditation garden began with Jane Iglehart and Lee Kaus circa 1998. Their desire was to give people a place to connect with God's creation and to have a place to be still; to dwell in God's presence and meditate.

Environmental Stewardship

 

The Property Management Ministry works toward improving the environmental stewardship of the entire campus at Woods – both buildings and grounds.

In the main church building we have installed new high efficiency HVAC systems, replaced windows and doors with highly insulated versions, improved ceiling insulation in the large fellowship rooms, installed low water use fixtures in the bathrooms and replaced all light fixtures with LED lights including the parking lot lights.  We are aiming to reduce our energy use by 60%.   In the Boone Station Hall building the windows, doors and HVAC were similarly upgraded to reduce energy usage.

On our church grounds, Woods has made storm water remediation a high priority.  We have planted hundreds of native trees, shrubs and plants to improve uptake of our storm water and to provide habitat for pollinators, birds and wildlife.  Through changes in storm water piping, we have diverted roof top runoff onto our grounds to slow down and soak in rather than have it dump into the County storm drains.  We have a rain garden and a swale on either side of the main parking lot to also allow rain water to soak into the ground.  The rain garden and swale also provide habitat for additional native plants and the wildlife that depends on them.

As a member of the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, Woods joins more than one hundred congregations as we work to demonstrate good stewardship in how we manage our grounds and facilities.

If you have any questions, please email us at  for more information.

Woods CCC

The grounds of the Woods Counseling & Care Center

 

Labyrinth

A labyrinth (pronounced lab-uh-rinth) is a circular pathway, used to walk for reflection, meditation, contemplation and prayer.  Labyrinths were created for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation.  They have been used for thousands of years for contemplation and prayer.  The Labyrinth at Woods is a modern adaptation of the medieval labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France.  The sacred geometry features a circular design with a trinity of sevens.  Seven courses of pavers surround the perimeter, seven circuits within wind back and forth, leading to seven petals with crosses at the center.  It is 45 feet in diameter and the paths are 30 inches wide, making it wheelchair accessible.

There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth.  When entering, one moves from human distractions to reclaiming a sense of clarity, enlightenment and peace.  It is a time to quiet the mind, listen to your heart and connect to God. Walkers often stop for calming moments at the center before using the same path to exit. 

Labyrinths are used by people of all ages – individually, and for church retreats, youth and school groups, pre-marital and marital enrichment and much more.

The effects of walking a labyrinth are profound.  The act of walking the labyrinth enhances the right-brain activity of using creativity, imagery and intuition.  A journal, The Healing Labyrinth Path, reports that labyrinth walking helps balance the hemispheres of the brain, using our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual resources.  Health benefits of labyrinth walking include decreasing stress and promoting relaxation which can have substantial effects on mental and cardiac health.  Labyrinths can be used for healing in grief and promoting focus for people with ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder).  These benefits have led numerous hospitals and colleges across the country to include a labyrinth on their campuses.

The Labyrinth and the adjoining Children’s Garden are open to all and serve as a place of healing for the community. Wheelchair accessible and available to the public at all times. Pamphlets with more information about the Labyrinth, and how to walk it, are available at Woods Church and at the Labyrinth.

For small group walks please call 443-261-3289 or email

         

Rock Garden

A rock garden full of painted rocks for you; for your journey, joy, inspiration, fun, and encouragement. Keep one, leave one, share one with others.

   

   

   

Children's Garden (Ellie's Moonflower Garden)

This garden was created for and donated to the Severna Park Community by Matt & Ashleigh Wyble in memory of their daughter Ellie. It is a space for children and parents to enjoy the outdoors and reflect in a place of beauty. In the center of the garden is a bed of moonflowers - a favorite of Ellie's great grandmother and namesake, Elizabeth Wyble. The surrounding beds contain perrennials, flowering trees and shrubs to provide a space for healing, hope and growth. It is open to the public at all time to enjoy, relax, play music on the lilypad cymbals, explore among the flowers, or read on the garden benches.