Lothlorien “Blessing of the Garden”: Interfaith ceremony held to honor earth-friendly garden in northern Michigan

Students convert Lutheran Campus Ministry lawn into eco-friendly Native Plants Garden

Rainstorm ends for Blessing of the Garden ceremony

Two pastors conducted a blessing on the Lutheran Campus Ministry new Native Plants Garden on Friday Oct. 5,2007 that was attended by LMC board members and LC students. (Garden Blessing Photos by Greg Peterson).

(Marquette, Michigan) – A “Blessing of the Garden” ceremony was held recently at Lothlorien – the Northern Michigan University Lutheran Campus Ministry house near Lake Superior.

Performing the ceremony was Rev. Jon Magnuson, director of Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) at Northern Michigan University (NMU) in Marquette, MI; and Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, head priest of Lake Superior Zendo, a Marquette Zen Buddhist temple.

The Lothlorien lawn has been turned into a native plants garden that includes rocks from three of the Great lakes and a solar fountain.

A heavy rain poured the entire day almost causing the ceremony to be moved inside, but the sun came out for 20 minutes and the rain resumed just as the blessing and a tour were completed.

Stones from three of the Great Lakes are part of the Lutheran Campus Ministry Native Plants Garden that encircles the house and replaces the lawn.

The LCM house name, Lothlorien, comes from Lords of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The garden includes numerous different plants from Michigan and others from the Boreal border regions of the northern United States including Black Eye Susan and aster, dogbane, bluestem, and Sensitive fern.

Student Michael Rotter, who manages the LCM Garden, gave atour of the site:

Prayers, incense, bells, and chants were part of the ceremony that included a tour of the garden by NMU Student Michael Joko Rotter, who is a member of Lake Superior Zendo.

“Lothlorien is a magical kingdom part of what Tolkien called Middle-earth – where time passes differently,” said Rev. Jon Magnuson, a Lutheran pastor, who founded the NMU EarthKeeper Student Team. Many of the campus ministry students belong to the interfaith NMU EK Student Team.

Zen Buddhist Head Priest Rev. Teshion Paul Lehmberg leads procession around the LCM house

Prayer Procession

Prayer procession

“One of the first images of the Old Testament around the beauty of God’s creation is a garden,” Rev. Magnuson said.

“Our natural native plants landscaping – our Lothlorien garden – is a sign of a new way of living with the world,” Magnuson said. “It honors the indigenous and native plants of our region.”

The garden and the name of the LCM house reflect the way the students feel about nature.

“Lothlorien came into being first as a song,” Rev. Magnuson said. “The garden will need little – if no artificial watering – no fertilizers and will be a haven for birds and other small creatures.”

“There is going to be a solar fountain – the fountain represents the water of Lake Superior and the waters of our baptism,” Magnuson said.

Beautiful fall colors were part of the ceremony honoring the eco-friendly garden in Marquette, MI

NMU Michael Rotter explains the plants that are included in the LCM garden

Two pastors lead the prayers - one a Zen Buddhist and the other Lutheran

The Central Upper Peninsula Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans donated $1,600 to the LCM native plants project in Marquette because “it’s breaking new ground” and involved dedicated university students.

“Students are involved – and we like to support things that young people are going to be enthusiastically involved in like this native plants garden,” said Judy Quirk, president of the Thrivent central U.P. chapter.

Turning the LCM lawn into an eco-friendly garden “was a project worth doing, they had the students to do it and there was the enthusiasm,” said Quirk, adding the chapter awards about $52,000 in grants each year “usually to fundraisers for someone with a catastrophic illness” and other efforts like the Greater Ishpeming Pioneer Kiwanis Club wheelchair ramps project.

Quirk said the native plants garden “is a unique project – we had never done anything like this” and said the chapter recently grant the “food pantry and meals program” at Victory Lutheran Church, which is the U.P. feeding site for Lutheran World Relief, located on the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force base.

A fountain in the garden is going to be converted to solar power in the spring of 2008 and the sun will charge a battery allowing the water to flow in cloudy weather.

“In the back of the house there are rocks from the Lake Superior watershed,” Rev. Magnuson said. “The pebbles represent the different worlds of the individuals who make up the region – and the people in the Great Lakes basin,” Magnuson said.

Blessing of Garden began at front door of LCM house

Those attending the blessing were given a tour of the Native Plants Garden

The Native Plants are expected to bloom in many beautiful colors in the spring of 2008

Rotter, who manages the garden, said the students hope neighbors will enjoy the beauty of the native plants and use it as an example for their lawns.

“We hope this will allow people to learn about the amazing diversity of out native plant communities and inspire people to learn the benefits that native plants have, such as requiring a third less water, and no pesticides or fertilizers,” said Rotter, a Zen Buddhist member of the NMU EK Student Team.

“The Zen garden represents our interconnected lives in nature,: Rotter said. “The stones from each of the great lake watersheds represent the flow of water, the substance that gives us life, and shows us how all of us are ‘downstream’ and depend on our connection to the earth for life.”

The Native Plant seeds are covered by straw to help them survive the severe northern Michigan winter but will bloom this spring

In a white robe, Rev. Jon Magnuson was one of two pastors who led the blessing of the garden

Bells and chants were part of the Blessing of the Garden

Rotter said the “garden represents the hope of the future.”

“It’s a powerful symbol of the future of people living in the environment,” Rotter said. “Hopefully as the garden grows the area near the house will help us return to our original nature and realize the dynamics of nature and the role we play.”

The garden encircles the LCM house replacing the lawn with eco-friendly native plants

“Native plants are important parts of the ecosystem but because we have introduced new horticulture and many different types of plants, and sprayed our lawns with chemicals and destroyed areas with lawn mowers – we have lost our sense of being part of nature,” Rotter explained.

The October 5, 2007 blessing happened a couple hours after Rotter received the bad news about the nearby five-acre Native Plants Project that he manages on campus with other students.

NMU planners are proposing that the four-year-old Outdoor Classroom and Native Plants Research Area be uprooted to build dorms, however the university president says final decisions have not been made.

related links:

Northern Michigan University Lutheran Campus Ministry

Lothlorien house

Marquette, Michigan

49855

http://www.lakesuperiorinterfaith.com

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,207119.shtml

http://www.elca.org/campusministry/celebrate100/pdf/essays.pdf

The Cedar Tree Institute:

http://www.CedarTreeInstitute.org

906-228-5494

Lothlorien house

Marquette, Michigan

49855

http://www.lakesuperiorinterfaith.com

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,207119.shtml

http://www.elca.org/campusministry/celebrate100/pdf/essays.pdf

The Cedar Tree Institute:

http://www.CedarTreeInstitute.org

906-228-5494

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans:

http://www.thrivent.com/

Michigan Chapters:

https://service.thrivent.com/apps/FraternalOnline/public/RegionalFinancialOffice?action=GetChapters&RegionalFinancialOfficeId=283

The Central Upper Peninsula Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans:

http://www.lutheransonline.com/servlet/lo_ProcServ/dbpage=page&gid=00018000001064232660724081&newsletter_id=20071078409678118401111555&mode=display&expanded=1

http://www.lutheransonline.com/servlet/lo_ProcServ/dbpage=page&mode=display&gid=00018000001064232660724081

Judith Ann Quirk, president

Marquette, MI 49855-3335

906-228-6729

juqu@charter.net

Victory Lutheran Church at K.I. Sawyer:

Victory Lutheran Church

315 Explorer

K.I. Sawyer, Michigan

Church: 906-346-7405

Pastor: 906-346-3407

Cell: 906-360-6623

Lutheran World Relief:

http://www.lwr.org/

Greater Ishpeming Pioneer Kiwanis Club wheelchair ramps project:

http://www.kdfonline.org/kdf-board.htm

http://www.co.marquette.mi.us/humanservices/COA%20Manual/community_organizations.pdf

Michigan Kiwanis Club:

http://www.michigankiwanis.org

Find a Kiwanis club:

http://www.kiwanis.org/FindaClub/tabid/84/Default.aspx/

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About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
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1 Response to Lothlorien “Blessing of the Garden”: Interfaith ceremony held to honor earth-friendly garden in northern Michigan

  1. Pingback: Bible Versus and Gardens » Lothlorien Blessing of the Garden: Interfaith ceremony held to honor …

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