ROXBURY, NJ – When Derek Dougherty, a member of a Roxbury Boy Scout troop, needed an Eagle Scout project, he asked his church pastor for an idea.
It just so happened that the Rev. Stan Barron of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church in Flanders had one: He thought it would be nice if the church had a prayer garden.
Dougherty, a Roxbury resident and member of Boy Scout Troop 159 in Succasunna, got to work. He discussed the idea in the fall of 2018 and embarked on serious planning in February 2019.
“Derek was so excited to work on a project like this as it is something everyone could use, and he could see every time he went to the church,” said his mother, Darlene Dougherty.
The teenager spent the spring and summer designing and building the prayer garden, a project he only recently completed. On a recent Sunday morning, Barron blessed Dougherty’s creation, an event attended by parishioners as well as Dougherty’s parents, brother and extended family.
The garden is in a convenient location right behind the church building, directly outside of the classrooms. On the morning of the blessing, it was being used by one of the church’s teachers to hold a class.
Shannon Jones, a youth minister and confirmation coordinator at the church praised Dougherty and the prayer garden.
“Not only is Derek an outstanding Scout, he also plays an integral role as a leader in our SPARK Teen Ministry program” Jones said. “Derek serves on both the Teen Advisory Board and Peer Leader Team and was a key member of our 2019 Mission Team. I am so proud of Derek and grateful for his continuing leadership in ministry. With his enthusiasm, kindness and dedication, Derek's character is top-notch, and we are blessed to have him on our team.”
Dougherty’s parents said the project took their son on an amazing journey. They said he spent significant time putting everything together and pushing paperwork through various Boy Scout committee reviews.
During the process, he made many connections with people, businesses and organizations, they noted. He also received many donations, including money and products for the garden, and was helped by quite a few volunteers.
The church is encouraging people to stop by and spend some quiet time in the garden Dougherty made.