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Reporter living, working on a Prayer

Melissa Topey • Sep 23, 2013 at 3:40 PM

It was a suitable balance between good and evil.

Before covering the Lake Eerie Mud Run 5K, affectionately known as the “Zombie Mud Run,” I started the day covering an assignment for this On the Job segment. I joined a group of about 20 people whose labor and thoughts were all pure, as they hosted the Prayer Path Workday.

Huron has beautiful walking trails, the Huron Prayer Path and Labyrinth, on 10 acres by the Zion Church on Main Street.

It’s not a well-known offering, but it should be. It combines nature, tranquility and God’s teachings, and it’s maintained by the Community Churches of Huron. All six churches in the city join together on the second Saturday of each month to maintain the path, keeping it looking good for visitors.

The churches involved are Zion Lutheran, Lighthouse Assembly of God, the United Methodist, St. Peter Catholic, Christ Episcopal and First Presbyterian.

At 9 a.m., we were an energetic group indeed. And we needed need it, too, as there was a full page of marching orders with tasks that needed to be accomplished for a few scheduled retreats.

Some of the items on the to-do list: wash the benches at the religious stations, weed along the path, and refill the prayer boxes with prayer tracts.

“God is going to provide us with good weather and beautiful scenery as the leaves change,” said Tom Preston, a member of Zion Lutheran.

I listened as Rich Wittreich, a member of St. Peter, instructed me operating the riding mower with the trailer hitched. It’s used to haul mulch to various parts of the path.

I stalled the mower at first, but once I got it going I did fine. I drove to where the mulch was supposed to be, but it wasn’t there. I jumped off the machine to look around, and eventually found the mulch a ways down a path.

Seek and ye shall find, right?

I hollered to Wittreich, and he drove the trailer over. Soon Preston drove up on a small front-end loader that serves as a sort of all-purpose machine. It also has a mower for trimming some grass along the path.

Preston jumped off so I could get on, and he showed me how to use it.

Again, I kept stalling the machine. This time, however, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. It took us a while to figure out the problem: A safety mechanism in the seat only allows the machine to run when there’s enough weight in the seat.

I didn’t weigh enough.

“I don’t have that problem,” Wittreich joked.

He hopped on the machine and drove the trailer over a small bridge, to an area of path we had to spruce up.

I joined the group as they spread the mulch — donated by Buckeye Tree Service — over the path. It was a few inches deep by the time we were done.

The land was willed to Zion Lutheran, but the church had been paying taxes on the land because it wasn’t being used for church purposes. Church leaders brainstormed, however, and soon came up with the idea for a path and labyrinths.

The prayer path was completed on Mother’s Day in 2007. It’s a small gem open to everyone.

I suspect the churches would also welcome volunteers with open arms if they want to help keep the place in shape.

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