The Peace Garden is located in the burial ground behind the meetinghouse and surrounds the stone marker of the common grave of many of the British and American soldiers who fell at the Battle of the Brandywine. It was dedicated in 2005 to the imperative need to employ peaceful alternatives to deadly conflict, while honoring those who lost their lives here. The Garden, with its beautiful native plantings (see below for plant list), is open to the public and is a peaceful place for contemplation.
Click here for a list of plants in the Peace Garden.
Our Peace Stones are a unique feature of our Peace Garden which, by itself, is an unusual if not unique feature of a Quaker Meetinghouse. Our Peace Garden, and the Peace Stones it contains, was conceived around 2005 by the Meeting’s Peace Center Committee. The Committee members helped design and finance the Peace Garden and in so doing conceived the presence of Peace Stones that would be interesting and complement the beauty of the Garden.
The Peace Stones are made to last. They are cut from Vermont granite, have a footprint of 12 inches by 24 or 30 inches and weigh about 250lb each. They each have an approved quotation that is engraved on the top of the Stone for people to read as they enjoy the garden. The Stones are paid for by private subscription and while the author of the quotation is also engraved on the Stone the handwritten name of the donor, with a personal message, is kept in an archival Book of Record under secure conditions in the meetinghouse.
As of this year, 2016, thirteen Peace Stones have been installed; not all of their inscriptions are religious but all of them are thoughtful and appropriate. Entries in the Book of Record indicate the reasons for the donor’s gift; reasons that vary from grief to joy. One was given anonymously. The most recent Peace Stone is a little different from the others: it honors the memory of Elizabeth Webb, a founder of our Meeting. It has been paid for by many of Elizabeth Webb’s descendants. The quotation is from Elizabeth Webb’s writings and has been entered into the Book of Record with sufficient nearby space to allow any visiting member of that family to sign their name.
The inscription on her Peace Stone reads:
“… when my soul is lowest and nearest to the Lord in the simplicity of truth, then is my heart opened and my mind filled with divine love …”
Elizabeth Webb’s writings were usually introspective and this passage is taken from a letter she wrote in 1712 to Anthony William Boehm, chaplain to Prince George of Denmark who was the consort to Queen Anne of England, and who also appears to have been Elizabeth Webb’s spiritual adviser.
For more information about Elizabeth Webb and her life, click here.