St Ann's Memorial Garden
In 1989, the Bishop’s Committee planned to create a memorial garden at the Church of St. Ann’s by-the-Sea. The memorial garden concept is not new, but is quickly gaining in popularity. As conventional cemeteries become crowded and their maintenance costs soar, planners and designers look for alternatives. Memorial gardens are one of these alternatives and are becoming more numerous, especially in the Episcopal Church.
Quite simply, a memorial garden is a place to inter a person’s ashes in a park-like setting located on church property. This garden, in principle, is much like the old church burying ground where people were laid to rest “in the shadow” of the church that had been such an important part of their lives. The memorial garden permits an unlimited number of interments, because ashes are interred directly into the earth. The memorial garden’s informal setting features trees, shrubs, and ground cover. These plantings require less attention that those in more formal and stylized cemeteries; therefore, maintenance costs are lower.
St. Ann’s Memorial Garden incorporates all these advantages. It has added to the beauty of the church grounds and is easily seen by passersby on Spring Street. Harry Van Deusen, landscape architect, has designed informal curving pathways that lead to three secluded meditation areas. Benches invite people to rest, meditate, or pray. The entire garden is bordered by stone walls. There is a lovely view of the sea as you look towards Old Harbor.
Interment in St. Ann’s Memorial Garden is available to members and friends of St. Ann’s as well as islanders and mainlanders of other religious affiliations. A nominal charge of $200 for members and $300 for non-members is requested for interment. Donations are put in a separate fund for perpetual care of the grounds and replacement plantings.
Arrangements for interment may be made by calling St. Ann’s at 401-466-2911. Donations to our permanent Memorial Garden Fund are welcome at any time and can be sent directly to St. Ann’s, P.O. Box 622, Block Island, RI 02807.
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