Garden connects community, church

DURHAM It's part of a growing trend among churches.

Church gardens are serving many purposes from feeding those in need to bringing neighbors together.

Elizabeth Newsome thinks of the large garden next to St. Phillips Episcopal Church on east Main St. as an extension of her church.

"The church is very interested in getting to know our neighbors and we thought the gardening would be a good way to spend time with people, meet people, [and] beautify the space," Newsome said.

The space where sugar snap peas line the fence used to be an old bus stop.

"It's very peaceful and it just it makes me feel whole and connected to everything," garden volunteer David Nerlingner said.

That connection is emerging with several Triangle churches where planting gardens is a growing trend.

"It's the idea of building a community, working together with not only our parishioners but also with people that live nearby," garden co-manager Bob Kellogg said.

"We are just appreciating the beauty of the earth and trying to nourish the earth and ourselves at the same time," Newman said.

Volunteers maintain the gardens and it's a lot of work, but the payoff is much more than the harvest.

"Here I can connect with the spirit that runs through all things," Nerlingner said.

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