Thursday, September 20, 2012

SCATTER GARDEN AT ST JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH

Julie Green carving the cross
Residents will soon have a new way to remember their deceased loves ones in Thibodaux.
St. John’s Episcopal Church on Jackson Street is putting the finishing touches on a scatter garden, which will eventually be home to countless cremated ashes.

“We want it to be a place where you can come visit your ancestors who are there,” said the Rev. Ron Clingenpeel, priest in charge for St. John’s, which dates back to 1843. “It is a place where one can encounter God, holiness and a real sense of peace in their lives, knowing this is where their loved ones are.”

The scatter garden will be a space where families can spread the ashes of their loved ones and go to remember them in the following years, Clingenpeel said.
The cross that will stand in the scatter garden is beautiful.  Julie, a parishioner, is a true artist, and her carving is a work of art.  And what a fine idea to have the scatter garden at St John's.

Enclosure walls of the future scatter garden

The grounds of the scatter garden are unfinished. All that's complete are the brick wall segments that will define the garden area.

My family knows of my wish to be cremated...not yet, of course,...but I had not decided where I wanted my ashes scattered.  I knew I did not want them placed in a container on the mantlepiece, and with the advent of the scatter garden, my decision was easy.

UPDATE: The intention is to scatter the ashes, but if family and friends of the deceased would prefer burial of the ashes in a biodegradable container, then that will be an alternative.  Of course, the garden will be made beautiful with landscaping. 

15 comments:

  1. How wonderful, Mimi! What a blessing this will be (for the living. For those who "rest in light eternal", I imagine it's hard to top the Infinite Blessings they already have. ;-) )

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    1. I think the scatter garden is a lovely idea. You can see the old cemetery in the background. It's a very peaceful place.

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  2. Beautiful cross!

    We have a "scatter" garden at my church and my husband is "scatter/buried" there as I will be. Ed's ashes were put in the ground in their own space as were all of the other ashes that are buried there. Our scatter garden is along the back wall of the narthex right under some beautiful stained glass windows. There is a beautiful plaque affixed to the wall with the names of those who are buried there.

    Scatter gardens are a really nice option.

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    1. I'd never heard of churches with scatter gardens before ours, and now I'm learning that they are fairly common. I need to get out more.

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  3. At Grace Holland, we have a garden where some member's ashes can be interred, but I've never heard of a scatter garden before, either.

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  4. St Mary Newington (where Canon Giles Fraser is Priest-in-Charge) has a scatter garden next to the church.

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  5. I've scattered the ashes of two very large dogs, and there are a lot of ashes when you "sling and fling". Do they actually scatter, or do they inter? Seems to me, if you scatter several sets of ashes in a small place, you are going to see nothing but ashes on the ground.

    Inquiring minds....

    IT

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    1. IT, I don't know the details yet. I posted because the story was in the local paper and to show off the cross. I will ask on Sunday and post details in an update.

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  6. I works fine - we do this - the ashes mix into the dirt - or sometimes if the family wishes we dig a hole and pour them into the hole.

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  7. Cremation has made possible the return of church burials in New York City. Many churches have a columbarium, and others have scatter gardens. Some churches, like ours, have both. In my experience of scatter gardens, the ashes are not so much scattered as placed in a bio-degradable bag and buried deep in a flower bed. That may be unique to New York since space is at a premium here.

    I would like my ashes to be divided. Part of them can be buried here in New York, preferably with my parish; the other part I would like scattered in a park with a view about a block from my parents' old house in Texas.

    My one complaint about cremation is the funeral. Cremation funerals can be just a little too tidy and convenient for my taste. I would like my body intact and present for the funeral. The animal that carried my soul is entitled to its dignity. Also, I don't want any confusion between my remains and the vested chalice.

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  8. Cremation funerals can be just a little too tidy and convenient for my taste.

    Counterlight, I agree to some extent, but I don't like the corpse with make-up that doesn't really look like the face of the deceased and people standing by saying, "He looks good," or "She doesn't look so good," or, "That doesn't look like him at all." The results of the efforts to make a dead body appear to be in a peaceful sleep are all too often grotesque, and I don't want that. Neither does Grandpère who threatens to rise up to a sitting position if people say such things of his corpse as they pay their respects. Best not to have the corpse on view.

    I understand that those close to the deceased may want to have a last look at the unmade-up remains of the loved one to provide closure, and that's fine if it can be arranged.

    The remains can be in an urn or a box that cannot be mistaken for the vested chalice.

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    1. I can skip the embalming and the wake. I don't even need a coffin. I've been to a few such funerals where the deceased lay in a pine box or even a cardboard box before being hauled off to the crematorium after the service.

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    2. Counterlight, I've never seen such a funeral, but it's a thought, although such an arrangement would cause great surprise in my area.

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