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  • Carly Schorman

Creating a Sacred Space: 10 Reasons to Add a Memorial Garden to Your Church

Sacred repose refers to the "laying to rest" of our earthly bodies on sacred or holy grounds. Until the secularization of the funeral industry began to take hold about a century ago, it was the moral obligation of spiritual communities to ensure timely and meaningful placement of earthly remains on hallowed or sacred ground. 

Onsite memorialization and final placement options not only fulfills this duty, but can actually add a myriad of meaningful benefits for both the church and their congregation. Let’s talk about some of those benefits…

  1. Remembrance: A memorial garden provides a peaceful and serene space for church members to remember and honor loved ones who have passed away. It can be a place for reflection and prayer, creating a place of connection with lost loved ones.

  2. Healing + Grief Support: Grief is one of the most difficult challenges we face in life, and a memorial garden offers a safe and supportive environment for healing. People can find solace and comfort in the serene beauty of a church memorial garden, a space for emotional healing and spiritual reflection.

  3. Community Connectivity: A memorial garden invites the community into the sacred space of the church, strengthening the bond between both. The church becomes the place where families come together in times of grief, where individuals seek solace in loss, and communities gather in remembrance.

  4. Spiritual Reflection: Grief brings many to a place of spiritual crisis. A church memorial garden offers a contemplative space for prayer and meditation within a sacred setting. Church communities offer a place for guidance or support when offering a place of remembrance.

  5. Celebration of Life: In Christian and other faiths, death is a transition to be celebrated because it marks the release of the spiritual self or soul into the eternity hereafter. A church memorial garden or columbarium highlights the connection between earthly loss and the heavenly afterlife that awaits. Memorial spaces can be symbols of hope, renewal, and the continuity of life, reminding community members of those who have passed over, but still remain part of the church.

  6. Environmental Stewardship: Many memorial gardens offer sustainable and eco-friendly practices alternatives to in-ground burial options. In the United States, more than 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid and 30 million board feet of wood are used for in-ground burial every year. A columbarium ministry or onsite memorial garden upholds the principles of environmental stewardship.

  7. Ceremonial Space: A church memorial garden can not only provide a venue for funeral or memorial services, but for other ceremonies, such as Easter service, Mother's Day gatherings, or even weddings. A memorial space offers a serene place of beauty and remembrance that can be enjoyed by all for a multitude of purposes, and not just a place for solemn contemplation or grief.

  8. Ongoing Endowment: Onsite memorialization can substantially reduce the cost of funerals for community members while also generating funds in perpetuity. A columbarium memorial establishes an income stream for the church and also leads to increased end-of-life giving.

  9. Affordable Deathcare: The average funeral cost for families in the United States is somewhere between $7K-$14K, depending on your location, and that average includes direct cremation without any memorialization or funeral service. Receiving sacred repose in a place of meaning and beauty can often cost significantly more. A church memorial garden can provide a more affordable and far more meaningful option for final placement.

  10. Legacy and Perpetuity: By establishing a memorial garden, a church creates a lasting legacy, a place where the memories of those who have passed away endure, and the good works of members continue to be remembered for generations to come.

There are, of course, countless other benefits to adding a memorial space to your church. Homecoming is the only company that was created specifically to partner with churches to maximize the benefits of onsite memorialization for churches while minimizing the challenges of ongoing care.

Please feel free to schedule a Discovery Call with a member of our education and outreach team to learn more about onsite memorialization and columbarium ministries without any expectation or obligation. We're a mission-driven company and we put education at the center of our operation.

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