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St. Luke's adds path, pavers and prayer box to meditation garden

A stone slab engraved with Matthew 11:28 greets visitors as they enter the meditation garden at St. Luke's Lutheran Church.1 / 2
Since its installation, the prayer box in the meditation garden at St. Luke's receives about 12 prayer requests per week.2 / 2

Flowers aren't the only things flourishing in St. Luke's Lutheran Church's meditation garden.

Since its inception three years ago, the garden has seen many a weary wanderer find rest under the shade of its towering ash trees, and church leaders are continuing to develop the garden into a place of peace and tranquility for the community.

Known for its fountain featuring the Healing Hands sculpture from the New Richmond hospital lobby, the garden has special ties to the church's namesake. According to Pastor Matt Hein, Saint Luke's career as a physician and the church's christening are no coincidence.

"The name 'St. Luke's' was chosen back when there was no hospital in town," Hein said. "It was the hand of God that led the church's founders to choose a name that connects us with spiritual healing and wholeness."

Indeed, the garden is filled with decorative trees, soothing herbs and flowers that splash the ground with color. Between black-eyed Susans and barberry bushes, the garden offers visitors a pleasant environment in which to relax.

As church leaders explored additional avenues to help visitors feel at home in the garden, they decided to install a small prayer box, which now averages a dozen prayer requests per week that are lifted up during prayer vigils.

Moreover, in an effort to welcome community members to the garden, the church laid a path with the help of Thrivent Financial that connects the garden to the city sidewalk along Business Highway 64.

"The creation of the path increases community access to the garden," Hein said. "It's really a path of invitation."

Perhaps the most meaningful addition to the garden has been its personalized pavers, which can be engraved with the name of a loved one to honor and remember them. Thus far, 34 pavers have been engraved to commemorate the lives of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.

Although the church has not yet held a public event in the garden, Hein said St. Luke's plans to host a community prayer vigil Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. New Richmond residents are invited to come and pray for the community while enjoying peace in the garden.

"I think that's what I appreciate the most about the garden," Hein said. "It creates a space where you can get away from the busyness of the world and the hectic pace of life. You can just experience rejuvenation and rest in a sanctuary of God's healing."

To request an engraved paver, call the church office at 715-246-4861. To submit a prayer request for the upcoming prayer vigil, go to

Jenny Hudalla
A senior at Bethel University, Jenny Hudalla is pursuing degrees in journalism, Spanish and reconciliation studies. Having graduated from New Richmond High School in 2011, she served as editor-in-chief of the Tiger Rag before taking a job as editor-in-chief of Bethel's student newspaper, The Clarion. After completing her internship with the New Richmond News, Hudalla plans to move on to a career in social justice.
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