The St. John’s Memorial Garden

St. John’s Episcopal Church
Vernon, Connecticut

Thou only art immortal, the creator and
maker of mankind; and we are mortal,
formed of the earth, and unto earth shall we
return. For so thou didst ordain when thou
createdst me, saying, “Dust thou art, and
unto dust shalt thou return.” All we go
down to the dust; yet even at the grave we
make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
— The Book of Common Prayer, p. 482

St. John’s Memorial Garden was created in loving memory of Graham
Fulton (1932-1995) in 1996, through a gift from the Fulton Family.

The purpose of the Memorial Garden is:

  • To provide a serene place and natural setting for the interment of the ashes of deceased members of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
  • To be a place for prayerful reflection, meditation and remembrance.
  • To be a consecrated worship space for the occasional celebration of the rites and ceremonies of the Episcopal Church.
  • To be a living memorial to Our Lord Jesus Christ and to all those returned to the earth in the garden.

The Garden is managed by the Memorial Garden Committee.  The  Committee includes the Priest, the Sextons, and members of the Parish appointed by the Vestry.  The tenure of each appointed member shall be three years. As the term of each appointed member expires, the Vestry shall reappoint the member or appoint a replacement.  Committee meetings shall be held at least annually, but otherwise as deemed necessary.  The Vestry have the authority to fill vacancies.

Policies and Regulations

Adopted by the Vestry, on 10/19/10, the policies and regulations of the Memorial Garden comply with the law and are as follows:

1. Eligibility:  Interment in the Memorial Garden is intended for members of St. John’s Church and their families and others upon the recommendation of the Rector.

2. Rites: Burial Rites shall be in accordance with the worship and practice of the Episcopal Church as set forth in The Book of Common Prayer and in consultation with the Rector of St. John’s Church.

3. Internment: Since the Memorial Garden is not a cemetery, ashes/cremains interred in the Memorial Garden are to be placed in biodegradable containers, which are then placed in the ground and covered with topsoil at the time of the committal. Alternatively, cremains may be placed loose into the ground and covered with topsoil.  After consultation with the deceased’s family members, the location of a burial site shall be determined by the Rector and Sexton.

4.  Markers: No markers or plantings shall be placed by family or friends of the deceased. A permanent uniform plaque marker bearing the name of the deceased, with the dates of birth and death, shall be placed in the Memorial Garden by the committee.

5. Records:  A record shall be kept in the church office indicating the name, the dates of birth and death, and the next of kin of each person whose cremated remains are interred in the Memorial Garden. The Memorial Garden Committee shall maintain an approximate location record of placement of those interred in the Garden.

6. Plantings:  St. John’s Episcopal Church shall maintain the Memorial Garden using monies from the Memorial Garden Fund.  Any additional funds needed from the current budget must be approved by the Vestry.  The actual maintenance of the plantings, the landscaping and the overall stewardship of the garden and its worship space shall be the sole responsibility of the Memorial Garden Committee. Adornments shall not be used in the Garden with the exception of cut flowers at the time of the Committal service.

7. Cost:  A contribution may be made to the St. John’s Memorial Garden Fund (which shall include the inscription of the name and dates on the memorial marker plaque).  Such a contribution should be considered part of burial expense and the monies donated shall become part of the Memorial Garden Fund. In no case shall an inability to pay prevent the use of St. John’s Memorial Garden. The extent and cost of any services requested of a funeral director is the responsibility of the family.

8. Covenants:  There shall be a form prepared and executed for each reservation or internment. Such agreement grants full authority to St. John’s Episcopal Church or the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut to exhume and rebury ashes if for any reason the Memorial Garden of St. John’s should be closed or relocated.  St. John’s cannot guarantee or promise that the Memorial Garden will be maintained in perpetuity.

Anyone considering placing cremains in the St. John’s Memorial Garden should know that closing and deconsecrating any church and any memorial garden is a last resort undertaken only with great care and consideration. When such steps are necessary, they are taken with abiding pastoral care for those families affected. Arrangements shall be made for the relocation of the Memorial Garden to other consecrated property, usually at a nearby cemetery. A re-committal service will be held to which the families that can be contacted will be invited. Families, if they choose, are also free to move representative soil from the Memorial Garden to a location meaningful to them.

9. Questions and inquiries about the Memorial Garden can be directed to any member of the Memorial Garden Committee. Likewise, interment may be arranged in advance by contacting one of the members of the Committee through the St. John’s Parish Office at 860-872-0517.

Memorial Garden Committee
Lucy Fulton, Emeritas
Rev. Virginia W.G. Army
Elaine Anderson, Chair
Elizabeth Ellwood
Paul Brown
William Gutzmer
Don Wills

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