‘Little, out of the way church in F’ville’ celebrates nature, diversity

There is a little, out of the way church in Fayetteville that does it with a twist. With a small but very diverse congregation, the Episcopal Church of the Nativity opens its doors and its arms to all who come. And all of those who do come find peace, joy and community.

Reverend Rita Henault stands in front of the altar as she says, “I really like the way nature calls through the windows behind the altar. That seems so much more peaceful even than stained glass windows.”

Indeed, Rev. Henault and Nativity do embrace nature. The church grounds has a “secret garden,” complete with a labyrinth of plants that are enjoyed and tended to by the members and anyone else who wishes to visit it. The tendrils of the garden peek in on the church sanctuary and join in the worship, waiting silently at other times as they watch over the little church’s activities and growth.

Along the nature theme, Nativity also sponsors an annual “Blessing of the Animals” where anyone who wishes can bring their pets. The blessing is done downtown in Fayetteville at the Gazebo. During off hours at the church, you might just see Mother Rita’s two pet puppies roaming the church halls.

Nativity’s mission is short and to the point:

“With God’s help, we PROCLAIM Christ’s love, INVITE and EMBRACE a diverse community, RESPECT the dignity of every human being and SERVE our neighbors both near and far.”

The members of the congregation include those who have journeyed from all walks of life. Diversity includes those from varying areas, cultures and lifestyles who all come together to celebrate God’s life for them and to accept each other distinctions. Diversity is Divine, and the congregation of Nativity embraces that concept as well as nature.

Moving forward, the Episcopal Church of the Nativity looks toward making the circle wider by inviting others to join in on the warmth, fellowship and creativity that the church enjoys.

Beginning Aug. 3, Nativity will begin offering a Sunday evening service at 5:30 each week. This service is designed to appeal to those who are looking for a church home or are wishing to supplement their church experience. With a combination of “diverse” presentations, the church hopes to offer a place for all of those who are looking for community and fellowship.

The service on Aug. 3 includes a short service followed by a concert at the gazebo in the garden with David Ellis.

The Episcopal Church of the Nativity at at 130 Antioch Road (off of Highway 92), Fayetteville, Ga.

Ralph Ferguson
Peachtree CIty, Ga.