Small park planned next to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Waupaca
By Angie Landsverk
A quilt made by members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church will raise funds for the new green space next to the church.
“Square in a square is the name of the quilt,” said Paula Binczak.
She loves to quilt and during the church’s coffee hour earlier this year, brought up the idea of making and selling a quilt, with the proceeds then going toward the new green space the congregation was already planning.
When someone suggested involving others as well, Binczak supplied about nine kits and asked each person to make several squares.
She provided the material, sewing machine needles and thread in early March, and those involved in the project returned the completed squares by Easter.
At Binczak’s home, they worked to arrange the squares. Then Binczak sewed them all together before turning the project over to a quilter.
Now, the quilt is ready to make appearances at several upcoming events in the community, where people may purchase raffle tickets for a chance at winning it.
Strawberry Fest, which is Saturday, June 20, will be the first event where tickets are sold.
Tickets will be sold at the event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at $1 a piece or six for $5.
Next, tickets will be for sale in front of the church during the Saturday, July 4, parade.
They will also be available during the Aug. 15 Arts on the Square in downtown Waupaca and the Sept. 19 Fall O’ Rama at South Park.
Plans call for the drawing to take place at 3 p.m. at Fall O’ Rama.
Also involved in the project are LaDonna Sonntag and Carol Elvery.
Sonntag is in charge of buildings and grounds at St. Mark’s and has a design background. Elvery is helping with the logistics of getting the quilt to various venues to show it.
St. Mark’s Espiscopal Church is located at 415 S. Main St. The congregation previously rented out the house it owned next door.
“We investigated selling it,” Sonntag said, “but it was a non-conforming lot.”
With the home in need of repairs and the church not having a lot of land, it decided to take the house down and repurpose the property.
This past winter, crews took the house down.
The garage remains, and Sonntag worked with Silver Mist Garden Center to accomplish a design for the green space.
The space will be called Garden of Blessings, and Sonntag said at least $100,000 needs to be raised for the project.
The plan includes a covered shelter area, private seating area, water fountain, 28-foot diameter labyrinth and buffer area with plantings.
The covered shelter area could be used for meetings, activities and small services.
With space for between 50 and 100 people, it could also be used for weddings and be rented out to the public for small events.
The church plans to eventually move its summer Jazz Vespers services there.
“The opportunity exists to do something in honor of or in remembrance of someone,” Sonntag said. “The expectation is this is a long-term commitment and plan for how the church is growing and moving forward.”
The initial parts of the project include converting the garage into a shelter, extending the sprinkler system and building a retaining wall, she said.
While the green space will be next to St. Mark’s, the church wants it to be a space for the entire community. Donations are tax deductible.
“It is for the general public,” Sonntag said.
That means the project will be completed in phases, depending on the response of the community.
Some people want to pick out plants or benches for it.
“There will be things that come toward the end,” Sonntag said.
A fence will also be put up on the back property line, where the names of those who contributed to different aspects of the project will be noted.
“This is a long-term commitment. This is an investment in our congregation, our church, our community,” Sonntag said. “It is a unique thing for a church to do. It will be a very unique space.”