Open Spaces Sacred Places

Produced by Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly production assistant Fabio Lomelino and Web producer Fred Yi

In 1996, Tom and Kitty Stoner started the TKF Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland, to create spaces that would “offer a temporary place of sanctuary, encourage reflection, provide solace, and engender peace.” The foundation has helped develop more than one hundred sites, from urban community gardens to labyrinths and healing spaces at hospitals, medical centers, churches, prisons, and correctional facilities. Each project is developed in partnership with local community leaders. Watch founder Tom Stoner and executive director Mary Wyatt explain why these open spaces are also sacred places.

We visited some of the foundation’s faith-based partners in Baltimore to talk to them about how sacred places serve their communities.

Todd Marcus runs Newborn Holistic Ministries, a faith-based organization that works to revitalize Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester and Upton neighborhoods. He and a group of volunteers restored the empty lots around Martha’s Place, a center for women recovering from drug addiction.

In an alleyway behind Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in East Baltimore, the rubble from once abandoned row houses has become a prayer labyrinth and community garden. Pastor Gary Dittman and gardener Jessie Scott talk about the site as a place of meditation, transformation, healing, and hope.

Gloria Carpeneto is director of the Northeast Interfaith Peace Garden, located on the grounds of St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore. The labyrinth featured in this meditation garden and community sanctuary serves as a path for silent walking and contemplative exercises.