Church to establish memory garden

The Episcopal Church of St. Francis of Assisi recently addressed the Indian Springs Village Town Council about interring human cremated ashes on church property.

In a letter written to Mayor Steve Zerkis, the Rev. Neil Kaminski informed town leaders of the church’s plans for a memory garden. The church is now awaiting approval from the town council and the planning and zoning commission.

Kaminski said the area chosen for the garden is a landscaped area that will be kept under regular maintenance. The church will retain ownership of the designated area, and no plots will be sold.

Ashes will be interred directly in the ground with no marker on the place of burial. The names of the deceased and the dates of birth and death will be engraved on one common marker instead, Kaminski said. The deceased’s next of kin would be responsible for paying the cost of a nameplate to be placed on the marker.

Kaminski also said if the church moves to a new location, there will be no attempt to recover or move the ashes.

A research group has been formed to conduct planning for the garden, which will feature a fountain and outdoor benches.

“We hope to create a peaceful and meditative kind of space,” Kaminski said. “A number of Episcopal Churches do this.”

Kaminski said the memory garden has been a priority among some members of the church congregation. The church is now awaiting approval from the town council and the planning and zoning commission.

If approved, the church hopes to have the garden complete by this summer. At that time, the church will host a blessing ceremony.