The very first gardens that one sees when entering White Chapel are the original block gardens envisioned by our founder, Clarence Sanger. A splendid eighty-acre floral display, these gardens are nestled in the heart of White Chapel’s Park. They provide a breathtaking and colorful counterpoint to the wide main boulevard they embrace, stretching from the main gate to the majestic Temple of Memories.
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden.”
This beautiful garden has as its central feature the three prophets – David, the Psalmist; Jeremiah, who foresaw the coming of the Messiah; and Isaiah, who foretold the Passion and Crucifixion of the Lord. These sculpted figures convey the significance of the words -
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 The bronze sculpture in this peaceful garden depicts Christ with arms outstretched, speaking the compassionate words of
It reflects the immortality expressed in Christian faith - “I am the resurrection and the life, whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
“Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”
This is the garden of the symbol of Christianity and supreme sacrifice. It reminds the visitor that within this quiet garden the crosses of our loved ones have been eased from their shoulders. Its serene beauty suggests the words of Luke 23:43 – “Verily, I say on to thee, today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”
“And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, Amen.”
This magnificent bronze tableau portrays the disciples gazing heavenward, and the exalted passage from Matthew 28:20. It inspires the conviction that all who rest here look forward to their day of Easter, and we too are led, as were the disciples “as far as Bethany.”
“Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine.”
The Garden of the Reformation affirms the mighty truth that though there are divisions among mankind, there is but one Lord and one Faith.
“Now the Lord is that spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
2 Cor. 3:17
This garden is dedicated to a great American heritage…and to the many who fought and died to escape persecution and attain religious liberty. It is a reminder that here in America, men could live and worship as the spirit moved them and start life anew.
“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
The 19th century ushered in a tremendous surge for the spread of the gospel. Bands of heroic and self-sacrificing men and women labored in Christ’s name, cheerfully accepting virtual permanent exile, enduring incredible hardship, suffering and martyrdom to preach the gospel to every creature.
“For of such is the kingdom of heaven…”
Jesus’ words in the Book of Matthew reminds us of His care and love for children. And here in White Chapel’s Garden of Spring, one finds a special place where the young are memorialized: A reminder of the purity and innocence of childhood.
“Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.”
The line from Matthew 16:18 suggest the inspiration for the Garden of the Apostles. Peter, the rock, a sure and steadfast foundation; Paul, the light of the Gentiles; and St. John the Divine who visions the “Throne of God and a new heaven and a new earth.”
“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our Faith.”
1 John 5:4
“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our Faith.” 1 John 5:4 Slowly but surely the Faith moves forward – fortified with the law of true New Testament scripture, the creeds, and the development of the ministry. Christian fellowship begins to take hold of the lives of thousands; the gospel of Jesus Christ attains its victory.
“Love the Lord thy God, love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Matthew 23:37 & 39
Francis of Assisi sculptured in bronze, stands in the Garden of Love, fulfilling the commandment – “Love the Lord thy God, love thy neighbor as thyself.” This tender scene, showing Francis of Assisi cradling a fawn in his arms while the mother looks up trustingly, typifies the spirit of God descended among men.
“Awake, Awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord.”
The superb sculpture in the Garden of Religious Awakening commemorates the resurgence of spiritual and moral force in the early 18th century. After years of declining influence, the church once again was making an impact in neglected areas, preaching Christ to crowds numbering thousands.
The story of the Christian Faith has no end. We look forward to the time when Christendom becomes one great body, when the brotherhood of man, under the guiding power of the Holy Spirit, becomes a reality. This beautiful garden symbolizes the unceasing search for brotherhood through twenty centuries of history.
“And He took bread and gave thanks and brake it, and gave unto them saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you.”
When you view this marble sculpture you will feel again the tremendous impact of the Passion and Resurrection-“And He took bread and gave thanks and broke it, and gave it unto them saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
“Which was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go and do thou likewise.”
The imposing marble sculpture in the Garden of the Good Samaritan depicts the parable of he who gave succor to the man set upon by thieves when others had passed him by. A noble inspiration for a gracious garden.
“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and he saith to his disciples. Sit ye here, while I shall pray.”
These words from The Passion and the Resurrection set the mood for Bernard Zuckermann’s magnificent sculpture in the Garden of Gethsemane. The heroic figure of Christ kneels with hands clasped, head lifted in prayer, surrounded by the sleeping disciples. Surely there is no more inspired tableau in all of White Chapel’s memorial gardens.
The powerful and inspiring sculpture by Arthur Schneider symbolizes the solace and comfort of prayer. It depicts a man standing on a rock, hands clasped and head turned skyward. The effect is not that of a figure chained to earth, but rather the suggestion of a man’s spirit soaring. It helps make the Garden of Prayer an emotionally uplifting experience.
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
One of the most compelling of religious themes and a source of comfort down through the ages, the Good Shepherd stands amid the peace of nature. Shining under a summer sun or capped with snow, the statuary is a constant reminder that, as Paul wrote the Christians in Corinth, “our sufficiency is of God.”
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”
These words of comfort from our Lord, spoken during His last hours, are the obvious source of inspiration for the superbly designed Garden of Peace. With its dense greenery and the gentle sounds of nature, a walk through this tranquil garden reminds us that our loved ones are truly at peace.
“It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
The spirit of this passage can be felt throughout this magnificent garden. Surrounded by stately elms and emerald green lawns, one cannot help but walk through the Garden of Hope with a renewed sense of strength, remembering the words of the 23rd Psalm—“The Lord is my shepherd…He maketh me to lie down in the green pastures…”
“And they shall be one flesh.”
Cherished thoughts of the past and a hope for the future are beautifully inspired in this quiet garden setting. With sculptures dramatically portraying the ideals of faith, devotion and constancy, the Garden of Togetherness is truly a place for rest, reflection and memory.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
Here tranquil beauty invites meditation, and reflection. In the still waters of a silver pool, the figure of a boy is mirrored, eyes looking into infinity. Here indeed may the soul find solace, and the heart be comforted. The Garden of Meditation extends its timeless beauty like a benediction.
“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, And speaketh the truth in his heart.”
The statue of David with his lyre symbolizes the immortal poetry of the Book of Psalms… the outpouring of the human soul down through the ages, in a fervent expression that has no equal in the annals of literature. Their poetic splendor mirrors every emotion within the soul’s communion with God.
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”
In the Book of Exodus, Moses is pictured as a man of tremendous moral strength noble of mind, deeply committed to the will of God, and entirely devoted to the welfare of his people. The Garden of Commandments extols the stirring leader and the covenant of the Lord—the Ten Commandments that are the bedrock of religious faith.
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works.”
This exquisitely wrought sculpture depicts the poetry of Robert Burns: “Now we maun totter down, John, And hand in hand we’ll go, And sleep together at the foot, John Anderson, my Jo.” It expresses the tenderness and compassion of two people who have spent a lifetime together and found fulfillment.
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him.”
Here are symbolized those whom Jesus blessed in His Sermon on the Mount—the meek and the merciful, the poor in spirit and the lowly, the pure in heart and the peacemakers. Resting amid the leaf-shadowed lawns and supreme quiet of nature, one is reminded of His words, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
The 19th century ushered in a tremendous surge for the spread of the gospel. Bands of heroic and self- sacrificing men and women labored in Christ’s name, cheerfully accepting virtual permanent exile, enduring incredible hardship, suffering and martyrdom to preach the gospel to every creature.
This beautiful statue depicts a Norse funeral of a young woman. Odin with beard and moustache dressed in long robes leads the group of six young Nordic figures. He carries a long spear in his proper right hand. There are two ravens by his proper left foot. There are six male and female figures behind him, three on each side carry the body of the woman on a wing shaped pallet upon their shoulders. One of the figures carries a musical instrument in his upraised proper left hand. Another figure carries a chalice in his proper left hand.
The keys held in Peter’s right hand are symbolic of Matthew 16:19, where Christ tells Peter:
“I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou
shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed
Paul heard the voice of God on a journey from Jerusalem to Damascus and consequently converted to Christianity. He is depicted with his habitual attributes of a book, referring to the word of God that this Apostle spread, and the sword with which he was decapitated.
The lack of a beard underscores the youth of John, and the writing slate and pencil symbolize his role as an evangelist and one of the authors of the four Gospels. At his feet is an eagle, which was one of the winged creatures mentioned in Revelation 4:7, with John the author of that New Testament book.