BUILDINGS & GROUNDS
A focus of the Parish community is our physical location—the land at 2089 Ponce de Leon, from the East Lake at Ponce Point to the meadow and highlands, and the building that houses our Sanctuary, Parish Hall, Classrooms, Art Gallery, Offices and more. The benefits of the building and landscape bring also the opportunity to care for our corner of creation. So, welcome to the website home of the Grounds Group and the Buildings Bloc.
Matthew May, Vestry Liaison
If you enjoy using our lovely facilities and walking through our beautiful gardens, this is thanks in part to the work of our B&G volunteers, who work to maintain our buildings and grounds. Time and materials donated by these volunteers and other parishioners save the parish thousands of dollars each year and help to ensure that we continue to be able to use our beautiful space to welcome, worship and work.
With the outpouring of interest in the Trees Atlanta project and other initiatives, we will develop a community of our people with keen interest in caring for the grounds of Epiphany. We have many people who “just do it”—special shout out to John Yntema and Katharine Hilliard-Yntema (both hands on and hands in the ground around Epiphany), Tom Felcher (also very active, most recently with care of azaleas at the Point) and John Wierwille (many projects, not just with his sheep!). Watch this space as we grow the Grounds Group.
We will also look to bring structure to the care of our structures at Epiphany. Current projects include the repair/replacement of the playground structures that were crushed by a falling tree in December of 2020 (overseen by John Wierwille with a 2020 Vestry workday in January) and the replacement of the two worn out, unsafe and ugly “baptistry doors” that exit out to the Memorial Garden that will be replaced by mostly glass doors (project being led by John Yntema, Alex Sherrill, ideas from Bill Graves, and funding from the Endowment Fund). Plans are being drawn for replacement of the worn out and kaput HVAC system that serves the Nursery, Restrooms and Offices, and other projects (sigh) are also being evaluated. Your help is invited!
TREES ATLANTA PARTNERSHIP
Thanks to everyone who donated to the matching program we have with Trees Atlanta. We were able to more than double the number of trees we had hoped to plant, and Trees Atlanta matched each donation with another. All of you who donated, and all of you who helped with the planting, are now officially designates as “ENT friends”. (ENT stands for Epiphany New Trees, and of course is an homage to Ents from Middle Earth.)
These native trees–Eastern red cedar, American holly, beech, linden, tupelo, and magnolia–will greatly improve the habitat that our parish property provides for birds and native animals while also providing an under-story along the Ponce bank, a sound barrier against traffic noise, and an expanded and diversified canopy. In no small part, this partnership is driven by a desire to honor the memory of Tom Hairston, whose leadership of Buildings & Grounds efforts at Epiphany was a driving force in upgrading and beautifying our church building and grounds these past few years.
Thanks again to all who helped with the planting on Saturday, March 20 and the “Bring Me a Shrubbery” transplanting the week before. Our planters included Dirk Zwemer, John Yntema and Katharine Hilliard-Yntema, John Wierwille and Kathryn Oliver-Wierwille (Leona and Eloise too), Peter Schneider and Paul Schneider, Phillip Ranglin, Nicole Lambelet (plus Garren and Naomi), Paige Howell, Jeanette Hanson and Galo Velasco-Jackson, Pam Hall, Ann and Joel Fowler, Dan and Joanne Deocampo (and Alexander and Gabbie), Susan and Robert Cunningham (also Bobby), David Brandon (and thanks to your daughter too), Erin Braden, Barbara Belcore, Susan Ashmore, JP Boulée (and Pilar and Forest), Jimmy Rabb, Brenda Lloyd, Tom Felcher and Sara Cushing, plus volunteers from AGI Group and Trees Atlanta. (We add the obligatory: Are there others? And yes, there are, so look for a donor highlight in a week or two.)
Roses. Bouquets of accolades are due Jeannette Hanson (who initiated this project with an innocent “why don’t we plant some trees” email a year or so ago), John Wierwille (who is a wealth of knowledge on many topics, including trees and shrubs and how and where to get them), Pam Hall (Professor, though not of botany, Pam is also a wealth of information about plants and interactions with wildlife), John Yntema and Katharine Hilliard-Yntema (both hands on and hands in the ground around Epiphany), Sara Cushing (who helped lead Shrubbery day and with guidance of this project), Susan Pierce Cunningham (part of Epiphany and also Trees Atlanta and the connection between the two), and Tom Felcher (who among other things on the grounds was an “Azaleas Atlanta” team of one by the Point Sign). And we remember Tom Hairston, who was passionate about Epiphany, the grounds and maintenance of the tree canopy.
This Land Is Your Land. The turnout and interest of all was outstanding, and during digging and/or leaning on shovels watching digging, there was much talk about “what’s next”, whether it’s flower beds, or shrubbery, or more trees, or berry bushes on Byrdland, or more, much more, many more ideas.
We plan to take ideas from ENT friends and others about new projects, including small projects that families could do, and other ideas to further enrich the beauty and sustainability of the Epiphany campus.
Many thanks to the Grounds Group friends who contributed ideas at our April 11 “on the grounds” walkabout gathering to discuss next steps. We’ll make this a semi-regular event for future Grounds ideas
Save Georgia’s Hemlocks. As you may know, 20 or so of the trees were sourced through Donna Shearer at Save Georgia’s Hemlocks. John Wierwille reports that “The trees secured by Donna and Save Georgia’s Hemlocks could not have been sourced through any nursery. They simply are not grown by commercial facilities because of the risk of total loss due to infestation. She secured those trees from three different states for us.” To learn more about Hemlocks, see https://savegeorgiashemlocks.org/. We very much appreciate the efforts by Donna and her organization, and we invite you to support Save Georgia’s Hemlocks by your donations.
We close with another reading from a letter from John of Wierwille: “You ENTs all know how the Spirit of God moves through trees and rejoices at the birds and the salamanders and the frogs. We will not all be around to see it in completion, but we are certainly planting a cathedral that will grow on site for many years to come and make the Spirit of God feel close for so many.”