The Memorial Garden
The Garden of the Holy Spirit
The memorial garden at St. Stephen’s Church is intended as a place of tranquility, peace and natural beauty. It had its inception when the vestry formed a Memorial Garden Committee in 1985. The committee selected the area beside the Grove Avenue (south) wall of the Church, and determined that the design should be similar to that of the existing gardens. The current memorial garden features a center grass plot surrounded by a slate paving and bordered by plantings. The entire area is enclosed by a wrought iron fence and offers benches for rest and meditation.
The garden was expanded as part of the 2015 capital campaign project. In addition to providing additional space for the burial of ashes, the expanded garden includes a beautiful fountain, a symbol of eternal life, designed to provide a tranquil setting for prayer and reflection. (You can read a blog post by the rector about the fountain here.)
It is the policy of St. Stephen’s Church to inter cremains (ashes) directly into the earth (“earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust”). In keeping with the decision of our vestry, we do not bury urns or other containers, nor use a columbarium with niches where urns may be kept.
All burials are treated in the same way, with equal reverence. In this way, our tradition of common prayer has a parallel in our tradition of common burial, conveying the sacred principle behind all of the ministries of the church – the equal dignity and worth of every human being.Typically, the cremains are delivered to the church in a standard box from the crematorium, and the church transfers the cremains into the church’s vessel that is used for carrying the cremains to the memorial garden.
During the service of committal, the officiant pours the ashes directly into the ground and then covers them with earth. There is no need for family members to purchase a special urn or vessel for this purpose.Marble memorial plaques are mounted on the outside wall of the church in the garden area and hold nameplates commemorating those buried within. Although St. Stephen’s Church cannot guarantee that the cremains of loved ones will be buried directly next to each other, every effort is made to accommodate such wishes when possible.
Many parishioners are choosing to pre-purchase spots in the garden. This allows nameplates for family members to be grouped together permanently, with spots reserved by blank nameplates for those who are still living. The number of spaces for a group of nameplates may not be increased if that involves having to move the nameplates of others.
Arrangements for the interment of ashes in the Garden of the Holy Spirit are made through consultation with the rector. The garden is supervised by a committee nominated by the rector and appointed by the vestry. They generally oversee the care and maintenance of the garden.
To offset the direct costs associated with an interment and to provide a fund for present and future maintenance of the garden, a donation of at least $500 per interment plus $225 to cover the cost of the nameplate is requested ($725 per interment). Checks should be made payable to St. Stephen’s Church.
Additional contributions and thank offerings will always be welcome to help maintain the perpetual care of the garden and for replacement of plantings as necessary.
You may use this form to indicate your wish to reserve a place in the memorial garden.
Janet Allen // 804.288.2867 ext 305 // email