So in the mid-1950s, while serving as pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Covington, he announced a plan to re-create the Garden Tomb on Immanuel’s grounds. This man of the cloth (and former Indiana legislator) also had something of an entrepreneurial bent, having already jumped into both radio and its young cousin, television, and he used his electronic “pulpit” to help raise money for the project. He also arranged to have the caretaker of the Garden Tomb come from Israel to advise on the construction and convinced people and governments around the world to send stones, plants, and artifacts to help make his garden as authentic as possible. He got antique carpenter’s tools from Nazareth, a gift from Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion; native plants from the Holy Land; and stones from the Jordan River, the Wailing Wall, and Solomon’s Temple as well as the Horns of Hatton, traditionally regarded as the site of the Sermon on the Mount.
Coers called the project the Garden of Hope. In addition to a replica of the tomb, it includes a carpenter’s shop outfitted as Jesus might have known it and the Chapel of Dreams, patterned after a 16th-century Spanish mission.
Though Coers did witness an Easter celebration in the mostly completed Garden of Hope in 1959, he died before its official dedication on Palm Sunday 1960. Then his successors lost interest in the project, and mounting debt and the depredations of vandals began to take their tolls. By the early 1990s, the garden was in serious disrepair.
But then you might say that some angels came to the rescue. A group of Immanuel members started talking about restoring the garden, and an anonymous donor pledged the money to make it happen. After five years of hard work, the volunteers had completed their task. Today the Garden of Hope is again a lovely 2.5-acre island of quiet amid city streets as well as a popular site for weddings and memorial services.
Today, the Garden of Hope is continually in need of volunteers who love to work in the yard. Monetary donations to buy rock gravel for the front hillside to keep it from slipping down to the roadway and to help with the water runoff problem is also needed. Please call 859-750-5611 to get more information. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garden-of-Hope/245313798911