Innisfree Garden hosts annual blessing of seeds
Donna Coane of the Schaghticoke First Nations delivers an Iroquois Prayer of Thanksgiving on Sunday, May 21, for the Blessing Our Sacred Earth ceremony at Innisfree Garden in Millbrook.  Photo by Judith O’Hara Balfe

Innisfree Garden hosts annual blessing of seeds

MILLBROOK —  Innisfree Garden was the site of the annual Blessing Our Sacred Earth interfaith celebration on Sunday, May 21.

In his welcome to about 35 participants, the Rev. Dr. Matthew Calkins, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Millbrook, said that he and the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, who was at St. Peter’s Church in Lithgow, had started the event in 2016. Kate Kerin, curator and director of Innisfree Garden, also greeted the guests.

The event started with a short program high above the lake, and then the celebrants formed a procession and traveled down the path through the garden, making stops along the way for saying devotions from different denominations, such as a reading from Hebrew scripture at one point and a Hindu story at the next, plus reading from the Quran, a reading of the Parable of the Seeds, and an Iroquois Thanksgiving Prayer.

The readings were interspersed with hymns, and there were several chants as well. Following the walk, a picnic lunch was enjoyed by all.

Co-sponsors of the blessing are Grace Church, Innisfree Garden and the Dutchess County Interfaith Council (DIC). Others involved include the Rev. Heather Sisk of  St. Paul’s Church, Pleasant Valley; Donna Coane,  Schaghticoke First Nations; Temple BethEl, Poughkeespsie; the  Hindu Samaj Temple, Wappingers Falls; Plpung Thubten Choling Monastery; and Bader Isman, imam, Masjid al Noor, Anna Mata, Baha’l Cluster.

Music was provided by Heather Holihan Guarneri, the Rev. Cameron Hardy, students from Millbrook School, and Lorraine Hardin-Gelardi and John A McKenna of DIC.

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