Visitors and parishioners alike enjoy the quiet charm of our garden and outdoor chapel, located on the north side of the parish campus.
The outdoor chapel, the first project initiated of the two, has been a fixture since the late 1980’s. The site is shaded by several large oak trees and has been designed as a primarily natural setting. When not being used for church services, it is a wonderful place to mediate and enjoy a few moments of solitude just a few steps away from a busy urban setting. Much of the site work and upkeep has been performed by members of St. John's, receiving a facelift in 2007 by member Owen Shearer as part of his Eagle Scout project. The chapel includes a permanent stone altar, several rows of wooden pews, and a wooden deck overlooking the creek below. It is used periodically for services such as the annual Blessing of the Animals.
In the early 1990's, construction began on the garden area, which was designed by parishioner Walter Moorman Jr. A serpentine brick wall was among the first additions, given as a memorial to William deRosset Holt, Hannah Pickett Holt and Charles Calvert Holt by their family. Another memorial, to Jean Ashcraft Huske, provided a wrought-iron fence.
The first plantings were the mondo grass seedlings placed on the streetside berm in July 1991. They were followed by hundreds of spring and summer bulbs and annuals, along with a perennial bed. Two natural wooden benches were added to the garden, designed to resemble church pews.
Much of the work on the garden was performed or supervised by the late Augusta Knight, who made it her ministry to St. John’s. Also instrumental in the garden’s development was parishioner Patti Hutaff.