Resurrection Garden rising at Berea Bible Church

Organizers hope people will reflect, learn in a peaceful, spiritual setting.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

One Springfield church is celebrating Holy Week and the Easter holiday with a resurrection project in more than name only.

For years, Berea Bible Church, located at 3850 Derr Rd., has had small park on the southwest side of its 16-acre grounds with the centerpiece a replica of the tomb of Jesus, which has been used as a unique setting for Easter services and Good Friday events, including today.

The spot has intrigued many passersby over the years, and now Senior Pastor Brian Miller and Michael Greenwood, Berea director of operations, are hoping to make it a local destination where people will stop by frequently to sit, reflect, learn, have services or just spend some time away in nature in a peaceful, spiritual setting.

The area to be known as Resurrection Garden is scheduled to be dedicated in late spring or early summer and will contain a garden with vegetation and plants native to Israel such as fig and redbud trees. A dock and fountain for the pond, plus seating, will be installed for things such as bible studies or meditation or just sitting by the creek.

While the area is already open to the public, the vision is to make is more accessible, as well as offering other churches that are drawn to the spiritual atmosphere a place to have services and activities.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Building Berea’s first tomb recreation in the 1990s was instigated Greenwood’s father, former Berea Pastor Glenn Greenwood. He founded the church and the current area was named after him, inspired by his numerous trips to the tomb in Israel.

Built into the side of a hill, it was originally a wooden structure and lasted 20 years or so before deteriorating. A Berea parishioner suggested tearing out the fading replica, and it was replaced two years ago with a plaster and concrete version of the tomb built to last, plus a stone wall along the perimeter replaced metal railings along with a set of steps being installed coming downhill from the church for easier access.

What may strike visitors about the tomb is how small it is, from the entryway to the resting place inside. The space is 7.5-by-16 feet and the ceiling only about six feet. But it’s built practically to scale as at that time, people were physically smaller than they are now.

It even includes a re-creation of the sliding circular door to protect the tomb, resembling stone but actually a round table covered in plaster that can actually lock in place.

“This is the only replica of its kind that I know of in three, four five states,” said Miller. “There is one in North Carolina I know of, but none like this.”

First Christian Church of Springfield and a church from Kentucky have used the tomb for activities. Miller welcomes others to use the space for dramas and services, with security lights and electric already wired to the area for those purposes.

Another goal is to have signs relating to the story of the resurrection featuring QR codes visitors could scan to learn the story of the Garden of Gethsemane and plant life.

Resurrection Garden has cost around $80,000 so far, all from Berea congregation contributions. Miller and Greenwood estimate another $30,000 is necessary to complete the vision, and they welcome donations from anyone interested.

Berea has shared other areas of its grounds with the community, including a large pond that people can fish in by permit only, and there is a baseball field down the hill from the church used by a local traveling team that can be easily seen by travelers on State Route 334.

And even after the dedication, there are even more plans to use remaining grounds to have a community-accessible fitness path similar to that near Buck Creek and potentially build a new worship and education center.

Miller said Berea was fortunate to see its membership grow despite the pandemic and hopes this will help even more.

Some people already stop by to have lunch in the current area, but Resurrection Garden will offer a more complete experience when finished. All that is asked is visitors treat the area with respect.

“That’s what it’s about,” said Greenwood. “Hopefully, we’ll have a lot of good use out of it for decades to come.”

“And to hear the story,” Miller added.

For more information on Berea Bible Church and updates or to donate to Resurrection Garden, go to

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