Following a centuries-old custom of Christians choosing to be buried on or near the grounds of their home church, St. John’s Episcopal Church is honored to provide our parishioners and their immediate family members just such a place for the interment of ashes. Our Memorial Garden provides a place of rest on the very grounds that have been our home since the completion of the sanctuary in 1890.
In his comments at the groundbreaking ceremony on October 30, 2011, Bishop Mark Lawrence made reference to the powerful symbolism that is evoked when the entire funeral ritual is carried out on parish grounds: The promise of eternal life is celebrated in the funeral service, which occurs in the church building – the place of Baptism, Confirmation, and starting point of ministry – followed by a procession to the Memorial Garden for burial on consecrated home ground, and then a short walk to the fellowship hall to celebrate the life of the loved one with food and friends.
In the United States, such locations are found on the grounds of many historical churches, particularly those in cities that are intimately tied to the settlement of our country. St. John’s, established in 1866, began as a community of Civil War refugees fleeing from Charleston. In turn, it was this small community that figured prominently in the establishment and growth of the town of Florence. From an historical perspective, it is most fitting that a place of eternal rest be present on the grounds of our beloved St. John’s.
Perhaps most significantly, the St. John’s Memorial Garden will serve as a permanent marker of Christ-centered lives … of baptismal vows practiced in day-to-day living … of God’s people growing in the faith and service of our Lord Jesus Christ, generation after generation … on ground consecrated so many years ago by our Lord’s work through a faithful few. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; even so saith the Spirit, for they shall rest from their labors.” (Rev. 14:13)
The regulations for the use of the Memorial Garden can be viewed here.
Please contact the parish office for a copy of the application form.