PURPOSE

The Memorial Garden is designed to be a place of beauty, dignity and meditation for the interment of cremains in the context of our living faith community.  Ashes will be buried directly into the earth in the formal garden area or scattered in our restored prairie section of the Garden.  These burial choices provide a more ecologically responsible option than traditional burial practices and are less expensive.  The Memorial Garden is an opportunity of our church to minister to the whole region’s population at a time of grief with an environmentally responsible, economical, and compassionate on-going relationship.  Following a Memorial Service the congregation will process into the garden for the conclusion of the liturgy with the interment of the ashes.  The design of the Garden and patio gives quick and easy access then to the Fellowship Hall or Patio for a fellowship meal or gathering. 

The Garden also is designed to be a place of life and renewal and can host other events such as weddings, baptisms, receptions, meditation groups and individual prayer.

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Description

The Garden is designed as an integral part of a master plan for the western side of our building that also includes a labyrinth, outdoor worship area and fellowship patio that includes a bread oven. Following the axial line beginning at the front entrance to our church, through the baptismal font, main aisle, the cross and altar table, the Memorial Garden lies at the western edge of our property, completing the symbolic process from initiation into the faith in baptism, joining the communion of fellow Christians, and service and sacrifice in the cross, to the final stage of joining the communion of saints in the Garden that speaks of resurrection and life transformed and renewed.

Crossing a small low bridge, those entering the Memorial Garden encounter first a bubbling rock water feature symbolic of our journeys’ involving a crossing-over and our identity as God’s beloved in baptism. The Garden has a central gathering circle surrounded by the formal gardens where cremains will be interred within the earth. The western side is formed by the memorial wall—a cut-stone wall with a granite top upon which the names and dates of birth and death are inscribed. Looking over this wall to the west, those gathered see the prairie section designated for “prairie scattering” of ashes. The whole garden is set within a restored native prairie and includes large and small trees for beauty and some shade.

 

Burial/Scattering of Ashes

Our Garden offers a unique opportunity for those who would like to have their ashes scattered upon the open prairie. The other option is to have cremains placed directly into the earth and covered, eventually mixing in with other nutrients that feed the garden. Both of these options speak to the Scriptural truth that we are formed by God in “clay” and our find our origins and our destinations also in the material realm —“ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The Garden as a whole, in conjunction with the Memorial Service also proclaims that it is “God in whom we live and move and have our being”, and that, in the words of our liturgy, it is “God, from whom our spirit come and unto whom our spirits return.”

Interment of ashes would normally be done during the warmer months; however, provisions are made for burial during the winter months if that is desired.

No individual markers, plaques or decorations are permitted. Arrangements can be made with staff to have flowers utilized in worship services memorializing individual loved ones if desired. Other gifts to the Memorial Fund are also welcomed to honor loved ones.

There is no need to purchase an urn. The church will provide, if desired, an appropriate urn or vessel for use during the Memorial Service and interment.

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Inscription on Memorial Wall

Those memorialized in the Memorial Garden may have their names, birth and death dates etched in the granite memorial wall on the west side of the Memorial Garden circle. Plans are in place for additional memorial walls to be built in the garden when the first wall is filled with names.

Names of living persons may be placed upon the Memorial Wall (with the dates of their death inscribed after interment) in a pre-planning option and to ensure that loved ones have names grouped together on the wall.

Those who may have had their cremains or body interred elsewhere but would like to have their names inscribed upon our Memorial Wall may have that done.

Theology/Ecology/Economy

People of faith have felt a responsibility to be involved in this ministry for thousands of years. Our Hebrew ancestors set aside designated burial places and sanctified them (beginning with Genesis 23:3-4). They even dug up the bones of their ancestors and brought them along in their migrations to new lands (Exodus 13:19). Early Christians felt a connection with the departed and a call to this ministry by creating underground catacombs, cemeteries in church yards, and even burying members in the church building’s floor and subfloors. This is a great symbol of how the saints are the foundation our faith is built upon. Having the memorial garden upon our campus illustrates the presence of “the great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) we are surrounded and inspired by.

Traditional burial plots take about 21 square feet of space in perpetuity. The availability of arable soil upon the earth is shrinking rapidly as it is being consumed by development, desertification, rising oceans, and agriculturally depleted topsoil. Even traditional cubical columbarium settings for cremains take up a surprising amount of space limiting the ministry and potential of the garden. FUMC’s Memorial Garden has a nearly unlimited potential in terms of the number of persons to be honored and interred.

Cremation and interment in our Memorial Garden is significantly less expensive than traditional burial practices that involve caskets, embalming, vaults, cemetery plots, opening and closing fees, and memorial headstones. These items average $5,000 or more.

 

Fees

The Fee for interment in the Memorial Garden and/or inscription on the memorial wall is $1,000. This fee only applies to the Memorial Garden interment and/or inscription as noted, and do not include the cost of cremation, memorial Service expenses, Funeral Home fees, etc. Consent forms are available from the church office or choose from the options below:

 

The Memorial Garden a place of life, remembrance, renewal, joy, fellowship and faith.