Community memorial garden open for refuge

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 23, 2023

A place for refuge, reflection, peace and prayer is now open to the community. First Assembly of God Community held a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting on Nov. 19 for its Memorial Garden . Tera Simmons, the daughter of Reverend Lane Simmons, had a vision to create a memorial garden after the loss of her mother Dale in 2021.

With the help of church leaders and a few community supporters, Tera’s vision came to life with a garden that features a peaceful sitting and prayer area and a memorial wall. 

The memorial wall holds the names and memories of those who have passed away. Families of the persons who are names on the memorial wall came to the dedication ceremony in honor of their loved ones. 

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Tracy Salter, Greenville Chamber of Commerce Director, said the garden is open to the public from dawn until dusk. 

“There are three stations in the garden,” Salter said. “Station one is ‘Remembrance,’ station two is ‘Crucifixion’ and station three is ‘Resurrection.’ Community members can pray, meditate or do whatever they want to do. It’s really beautiful, and is still a work in progress.”

Todd Simmons, the Reverend’s son, said spaces on the memorial wall are available for purchase so that there is a continuation of remembrance of their loved ones in the years to come.

“We wanted it to be something different than a plaque hanging on the wall or a memorial stone,” Todd said. “My mother loved God, passionately taught the word of God and loved seeing lives change when people allowed Jesus into their hearts. So we decided to create somewhere that people could go and spend time with God, somewhere they can pray and remember loved ones that have gone on to Heaven.”

Reverend Simmons, who has pastored the church for more than thirty years, said the Memorial Prayer Garden was designed as a peaceful place for prayer, reflection and remembrance.

The garden is located on the hill behind the First Assembly of God at 760 North Conecuh Street in Greenville.