Friends of All Saints Churchyard volunteers were hard at work today in the churchyard preparing the new Garden of Remembrance.
The new area is scheduled to come into use on 1st May.
Read more about this below.
The Rector of All Saints Wokingham, Canon David Hodgson explains:
For over 150 years parishioners have been able to be buried in All Saints churchyard; and the Parochial Church Council wish to continue to offer this now and into the future. However space is running out.
In 2009 new burials were permitted in the existing historic area of the churchyard where burials were over 100 years old, as the churchyard no longer had any more unused ground for new burials.
We now find ourselves in the same position for burials of ashes. Rather than closing the churchyard to all new burials of ashes , we looked at other options, just as we did for full graves.
From early 2017 we will be changing from our current scheme of individual graves with flat memorial stones, to a Garden of Remembrance where there will be no individual graves with markers. The ashes will be strewn.
If a family have an existing grave, either an ashes grave or a full grave in the churchyard in which they wish to have their loved one’s ashes interred, this will still be possible, provided they have a right to bury and there is room within the grave.
How will the garden look?
It will be a lawn area within the churchyard with no individual markers or graves. A memorial stone will be at one end of the area with words from Scripture on it and a bench on some hardstanding.
We will be extending the block pathway to create easier access for all. The bench will be where the bereaved may sit and reflect near their loved one and will be carved with the words “All Saints Church, Wokingham Garden of Remembrance”. The area will be surrounded by planted borders.
How will this be different from the current method of interment (burial) of ashes?
Rather than a family placing a memorial on the ground after the burial, there will be a Book of Remembrance in the entrance to the Lady Chapel in the Church. If the family wishes they can have a simple entry with the deceased’s name, date of birth and date of death (this will be at an extra charge). The book will be open on the relevant page for the month of the year. The burial of ashes will still be recorded in the Church’s Burial Register.
It will not be possible to place anything on the area where the ashes have been strewed as there will be no distinguishable graves for individuals. Cut, unwrapped flowers may be placed on the memorial stone at the entrance to the Garden.
Has the permission of the Diocese of Oxford been granted for this scheme?
A faculty has already been approved by the Oxford Diocese for both the Garden of Remembrance and the Cabinet with Book of Remembrance in the entrance to the Lady Chapel.
Is the scheme fully funded?
PCC has approved the use of a reserve fund restricted for churchyard work, and this will meet the cost of the work.
When will this happen?
Construction of connecting paths took place in December 2016 and January 2017. The memorial stone will be placed before the Garden comes into use.
When will we cease to use individual plots and start using the Garden of Remembrance?
Currently the plan is to start strewing ashes in the Garden of Remembrance from May 2017