The Memory Garden at Churchill Park United Church and Korean United Church  

 

The Memory Garden at Churchill Park United Church (CPUC) and Korean United Church (KUC) is intended to be a simple, dignified, well-maintained garden set aside as a place of peace, reflection, and remembrance. It is offered as a space to remember family members, friends and persons in the community who would like their ashes placed in the garden.

 

Ashes are dug into the garden without any urn or container. The ashes join with the soil and the growing garden environment. The church will set the location in the garden for the internment of the ashes. When placing ashes in the Memory Garden one of the ministers of KUC or CPUC will officiate. Arrangements to have other clergy officiate can be made through prior approval by the ministers of CPUC and KUC (not sure if approval by both necessary).

 

Fees for any services of the ministers or other church personnel in connection with the interment of the ashes of the individual are in addition to the administration fee. The administration fee is for the placement of a bronze plaque inside the church on the Memory Board and a written record of whose ashes are placed in the garden.

 

Other donations are welcome to maintain the garden or to the life and work of either congregation. An urn is available for use for any committal service in the garden and any memorial service in the church. There is no legal guarantee of permanence of this garden.

 

Administration Fee: $50

From left, Arlene Baschak, Rev. Janet Walker and Wayne Arklie in the memory garden on Beresford Avenue.

Winnipeg Free Press  

Church garden provides tranquil final resting place for a loved one's ashes

By: Brenda Suderman, Posted: 08/22/2015 3:00 AM Winnipeg Free Press

 

If you're walking the shady streets of Fort Rouge, consider relaxing on a park bench amidst the daylilies, hostas and hydrangeas outside a Beresford Avenue church.

For a more permanent place to rest, Churchill Park United and Korean United at 525 Beresford Ave. offer another option: digging cremated ashes into their new memory garden.

Now nearing completion after two summers of tilling, planting and building pathways, the 2,316-square-foot garden is open to the community as final resting spot.

"It fits into our vision of being open and welcoming to all," says Churchill Park's Rev. Janet Walker of the ongoing offer to neighbourhood residents to bury cremated remains of their loved ones.

"We want to make sure everything we do says there are no restrictions here. Everyone is welcome. It's not our house; it is God's house."

The seeds of the garden were planted several years ago when Walker sat with a recently bereaved family as they made funeral plans.

Disturbed by the high prices the family was facing, she thought there must be a way to cut costs.

"Certainly a church funeral is more economical, but some people who haven't been connected don't want to do that," says Walker, who officiates at more than a dozen funerals and memorial services annually.

Walker took her vision for a more accessible -- and affordable -- final resting place to the two congregations, which also share their space with children's clubs, performing arts group and a 12-step program.

Now, for a modest $50 administration fee, a family can bury the ashes of a loved one in the flower beds, planted each summer with donated flowers. That price includes a bronze nameplate on a plaque hanging just inside the front entrance, and a written record of the burial in the church files, says Walker.

Ashes are buried without an urn or container, and become part of the garden soil within six months or so, explains church member Wayne Arklie, who, along with fellow church member John McNairnay, provided most of the labour for the $12,000 garden, paid for by donations from church members.

Provincial regulations allow for scattering or burial of ashes on private land with the consent of the owner. The church does not guarantee the permanence of the garden, according to information on its website.

In addition to the annual flower beds for cremated remains, the garden includes hard surface pathways lit by solar lights, two raised limestone circular beds and about $3,200 worth of shrubs, trees, and perennial plants, labelled with handcrafted markers.

The church offers a wooden urn, handcrafted by church member Martin Peach, for use during a memorial or graveside service. For an additional fee, one of the ministers will preside over the service.

"I think if people want a funeral, they should have one," says Walker. "If they want a minister, they could have it."

So far, only the ashes of one longtime member have been buried in the garden, but the congregation hopes more will follow as the word gets out.

"I've told a few people walking by that we're doing this," says Arklie, who often hears passersby comment on the beauty of the garden.

Not only is the garden beautiful, with the variety of flowers and the red bark mulch echoing the red brick of the nearly 60-year-old building, it also is good use of what was just a weedy lawn.

"I think it's a way of sharing the space," says church organist Arlene Baschak, who plays piano or organ at about 15 funerals a year.

"The church is not selective, it's not a club. It has open doors. We're sharing our resources, and it's a place to rest."

Right now, it's also a lovely place to sit on one of two donated park benches, and take in the sights and scents of a late summer garden, says Walker, who wants her ashes interred there when the time comes.

"Even if no (more) ashes go into it, it's a beautiful park," she says.

"It gives a whole new look to the church."

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