REBECCA'S GARDEN

Christ Church Parish is opening its campus to visitors and friends. We have a large garden, inclusive of a cloister, benches, an olive grove, a network of paths for walking meditation, and a labyrinth. Whoever you are, we welcome you for a time of refreshment.

A portion of our garden is available for developing specific projects that can benefit the community. Are you interested in composting? Do you want to participate in growing organic vegetables for the hungry? Do you need a space for meeting with your organization?

We have designed a flexible space which can accommodate different activities: patios, lawns, and halls for dinner parties, areas for silence and contemplation, as well as classrooms for courses mostly focused on spirituality and ecological living.

INAUGURATION DATE: October 16, 2021

It will be possible for the public to access Rebecca's Garden starting in mid-September 2021, hours TBA.

We are located in the city of Ontario, California, at 1127N San Antonio Avenue.

Rebecca Rollins (1951-2010) was the esteemed organist and a beloved members of the episcopal congregation of Christ Church, Ontario.

In the early 2000s she started a garden in the large vacant portion of the church property that has now been named after her.

In honoring her name, the congregation pledges to take to heart the values of hospitality and compassion by which she was animated.

Our "Rebecca's Garden" is the outward expression of a larger vision of hospitality and compassion which animates the Center for Ecological Spirituality, located as well on the premises. The online and in-person programs of the Center can be found at:

JULY 2021

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The History:

For quite a long time, the Episcopal parish of Christ Church, Ontario has been dreaming about making of our campus an everyday site for contemplation and community-building, a kind of re-visioned ancient monastery adapted to our time and our resources. In 2018, the activities of what is now the Center for Spirituality began: retreats, classes, regular daily services. During the first half of 2019, three groups met regularly: the Garden group, our Outreach/Pantry group, and the Spirituality Center group. The vision that these groups were expressing is represented in the following diagram:

The ideas behind this diagram were, essentially, that we felt called to a vision of hospitality and compassion, which we made explicit in our vision for the Center for Spirituality. Our outreach group was going strong in the second half of 2019. It had already moved from simply providing food to people in need to offer fresh and nutritious food together with the chance of sitting together for coffee and even a full meal every Wednesday. In 2020, with the pandemic, our pantry came to an abrupt stop. The Center for Spirituality became an almost completely online effort from March 2020 to June 2021. With the reopening, the Center will restart in-person activities without stopping to offer online classes, through which we have reached people living quite far away. During 2020, despite the pandemic, the Garden group continued its process of designing a flexible space that would accommodate a variety of purposes while focusing on the notions of friendship/community building and contemplation/healing through nature. In November 2020, we were able to plant olive trees and bless the contours of Rebecca's Garden. Through a Diocesan grant and other generous donations, the hardscape of the Garden and the planting have been completed in June 2021. After the construction of a labyrinth in August, the Garden will open to the public in September 2021, with an official inauguration event on October 16, 2021.

The future: our art vision


The way in which Christianity is presented in the media today is quite different than how it is experienced and practiced in our community of Christ Church, Ontario. We think of the way of Christ as the way of compassion, we understand faith primarily as trust, and we decry the use of the Bible for condemning people. For a fuller statement of our understanding, click here.

As we look into our theological tradition, we see that the Logos of God, or the Wisdom of God, or the Cosmic Christ, is seen not as an element of division between people, but rather as an element of connection and healing of divisions. In our artistic vision, by walking through Rebecca's Garden one is invited to experience this Cosmic Wisdom as the reality that connects every reality, the center around which the galaxy of all experiences rotate and by which they are kept together. Our Garden connects by design all paths to each other, representing the mystery of the spiritual path of each of our visitors, each person's wandering in relation to others.

Our vision for the creation of art works that will be interspersed through the Garden as stations for meditation is inspired to the Stations of the Cosmic Christ as envisioned by theologian Matthew Fox. In short, we intend to enhance the experience of our visitors by presenting them with external images of the "image of God" that is present in each person, in the belief that art can help us connect immediately to the divine. We are interested in hearing from artists who are curious about our art vision for our Garden.