HONORING OUR LADY’S MESSAGE OF PEACE, WE WORK AND PRAY FOR THE UNITY OF ALL PEOPLE, AND FOR TRUE AND LASTING PEACE ON EARTH.
From the beginning of our church as a mission in the early 1970's, we have dreamed of having a Prayer Garden.In early spring of 2015, the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church asked a parishioner who had handled several other projects for the church to serve as project manager for the Prayer Garden project, and, at last, the process began. The project was to have two goals: (1) Create a space where people could pray and meditate when the church was unavailable (and also allow us to conduct certain religious services outside of the church building), and (2) Bring people together. The hope was to facilitate a sense of community, not only within our diverse parish community, but also within the larger Windsor community, since we all are a community of God’s children.At the beginning of the project, we didn’t actually have a complete knowledge of what would be required to turn the dream into a reality. To start with, we needed to determine if there were local government or diocese rules or regulations that would directly affect the creation of our Prayer Garden. This would require that we talk to the Town of Windsor Planning Department and consult with the Bishop of Santa Rosa. Depending on the results of these conversations, a determination would be made whether or not to go forward with the project.The Bishop was enthusiastic about the idea of our Prayer Garden from the very beginning. However, we learned that we would need to submit our plans to the Diocese Building Committee, which is standard procedure for projects costing over a certain amount.The staff at the Windsor Planning Department were very helpful. However, the existing "Use" Permit for the church property did not contain a provision allowing services outside the church building. Consequently, we would have to obtain a new "Use" Permit. This would involve submitting a proposal to the Town Planning Department and making a presentation to the Town Planning Commission in a public hearing. People living in the neighborhood of the church would have the option of protesting the Prayer Garden project and could appeal to the Town Council if they so desired. If the Planning Commission approved our proposal, and no one filed an objection with the Town Council, then we would still need to obtain a Building Permit under the new “Use” Permit to cover the actual construction of the Prayer Garden. The cost to request a "Use" Permit was considerable (over $5,000), and there was always the possibility that the Town of Windsor Building Commission might not grant the Building Permit. Nevertheless, a decision was made to go forward with the project. A detailed Project Plan was developed for implementation. The Town of Windsor issued a new "Use" Permit. We then applied for a Building Permit from the Town of Windsor Building Department covering construction of the Prayer Garden, and that was approved. We then submitted all necessary paper work to the Diocese of Santa Rosa, and that was also approved. We were going to have our Prayer Garden!
Key elements of our detailed Project Plan included:•Project Time Line - for details click here.•Public Outreach program - how we addressed the problems associated with getting the “Use” Permit approved. For details, click here.•Sponsorship program - how we paid for the Prayer Garden. For details, click here.•Construction - how we built our Prayer Garden. For details, click here.