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German gardens offer visitors chance to smell and feel the Bible
By Frauke Brauns   
Bielefeld, Germany, 10 August (ENI)--More than 40 botanical
gardens run by churches and Christian groups throughout Germany
are inviting visitors to get to know the 120 flowers, bushes and
trees mentioned in the Bible.   

"We want to attract both Christians and lay people," Maik
Foerster, head of the Christian association that runs the
Oberlichtenau garden near Dresden, told Ecumenical News
International. The garden has attracted more than 7000 visitors
since it opened in June 2005.

Since the celebration of the "Year of the Bible" in Germany in
2003, church groups have been opening recreational and
educational gardens, planted with the flowers, trees and shrubs
mentioned in the Bible.   

Plants mentioned in the Bible include juniper (1 Kings 19:4),
cedar (Psalm 80:10), figs (Judges 9:11), almonds (Ecclesiastes
12:5), hyssop (Leviticus 14:4), pomegranates (Numbers 20:5),
mulberries (1 Chronicles 14:14) the Rose-of-Sharon (Song of
Solomon 2:1), and vines (Genesis 9:20).   

"If you see, smell or hold things mentioned in the Bible for real
it is much easier to read the Bible," Foerster said. About
two-thirds of the flora can be grown in Germany without any
problem, he noted, while the rest have to be put in a greenhouse.

Two-thirds of the gardens are Protestant-run, and the others are
tended by Roman Catholic groups or non-denominational Christian

The Bible Centre at the St Johanniskloster in Schleswig says it
wants its garden to offer visitors a "holistic" experience of the
Bible. "We want to help inform people who are interested in
getting to know what is in the Bible whatever links they may have
to the church and whatever their own faith," the centre states on
its Web site.   

:: Links: www.bibelgarten.de, www.bibelzentrum-schleswig.de [294

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