The sun beat down on Uphams Corner yesterday; by midmorning it was more than 90 degrees. But a few blocks away, in cool shade beneath tall trees, children frolicked on a brand-new playground. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, which sits in the heart of a neighborhood often torn by shootings and stabbings, offered its backyard yesterday as a safe space for children to play.
“I think, honestly, it’s a sanctuary,’’ said Liz Meffen, 23, who serves as teen staff coordinator for the B-SAFE summer program, run by St. Stephen’s in the South End, a mission church of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
For years the church’s backyard was littered with dirt, broken glass, and matted patches of grass. The playground equipment was so old and broken that the children in the preschool housed in the church basement could not use it, said the Rev. Cathy H. George, the priest in charge of St. Mary’s.
George, who two years ago left her affluent suburban parish in Lincoln, St. Anne’s in the Fields Episcopal Church, to spend three years in Dorchester, resolved to fix it.
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