Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church
Friday, January 21, 2022

Memorial Garden

The Memorial Garden in July


The Memorial Garden is a setting in which cremains of those who have died are interred and perpetually cared for. The church is our spiritual guardian in one sense, and the Garden provides a place of remembrance, thanksgiving, peace, and communion with all "the saints in light."

An Historic Ministry

Dating back to the early church’s experience with the catacombs, the church has continually been involved in this important ministry. Ancient church buildings provided burial niches in their basements. The actual foundations of some churches have been replaced with "the saints." This highly powerful symbol speaks of how our faith is handed down to us through the generations... "Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations" (Psalm 90). Thus our faith is built upon the solid base of our mothers and fathers going back through time. We stand upon their faithful witness, grateful for their faith and work, and celebrate a living connection with them. To walk through the cemetery to enter the church is a beautiful symbol of the church—our lives and our living connection with God and our ancestors. The Memorial Garden is a place that connects each new generation of the faithful with their spiritual heritage. It states that "we are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

The Memorial Garden where cremains are placed in a setting that is respectful, joyful, bright, and colorful speaks of death as a natural part of life. The Christian faith proclaims that death and life are interwoven in the mystery that is life. Eternal life (or resurrection) is a gift of God who acted in Christ to overcome the power of sin and death. These barriers to our life are broken and we are set free to live without fear. A positive, hopeful setting for the disposition of cremains helps us in our grieving and is a witness to our faith in God and resurrection. The flowers, plants, granite, stonework, water, and names speak of hope, life, and community. We are reminded that we are not alone; in fact, we commune with the Lord of the universe.

A Place of Life & Faith

Uses for the Garden beyond interment, grief work, and remembering might include:

Fellowship time during the summer months
Wedding ceremonies or photographs
Easter Sunrise worship services
Renewals of the Baptismal Covenants
Other celebrations

What are the options for disposition of ashes in the garden?

Ashes can be deposited in the garden two different ways. One method is to place them into the columbarium (underground burial vault) itself, where the ashes become commingled. The other option is to bury the ashes directly within the garden itself, where they are commingled with other ashes and the soil. Consent forms will need to be signed giving permission before interment. Either option will be available in all seasons.

Who can have their ashes placed in the Garden? Do they have to be a member of the Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church?

The inclusive nature of God’s love for all creation leads us to open our garden to all. This ministry would be part of our gift to the community.

How much will it cost to place my cremains in the Garden?

At present a charge of $600 is required. This fee will include engraving. Additional gifts to the Trust are welcomed and will ensure its perpetual care.

How will the Memorial Garden be financially cared for?

A Trust has been established that manages gifts in secure investments for the maintenance of the Garden. The interest from the Trust will provide funding for professional botanical care of the Garden, seasonal care, future upkeep, and improvements. The Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church Endowment Committee is the steward of this Trust and will manage its investments in a secure manner.


Who will physically manage the Memorial Garden?

A Memorial Garden Committee (composed of a chairperson, representatives from the Worship Committee, Memorial Committee, Board of Trustees, the Pastor, and three (3) others elected by a Church Conference) will give oversight to the whole ministry of the Memorial Garden. This Committee will give leadership to its maintenance, direct future needs, alterations, and improvements. A professional landscape person/service will be contracted to care for the plants within the garden.

Where will the names of those placed in the Garden be placed? Can places for names be reserved so that loved ones can be listed together?

A granite tablet on the southeast portion of the wall holds the names of those remembered in the Garden. Names of loved ones can be placed next to each other by reserving spaces.

Can dates or additional words be engraved?

To maintain the space and integrity of the wall, only names and dates of birth and death will be engraved upon the wall itself. Accurate records of names, dates, obituaries, and so forth, will be maintained in the church office and available for genealogical research, etc.

Can persons’ names be placed in the garden (and inscribed on the Tablet) even though their cremains are elsewhere?

All persons may have their names listed on the memorial tablet, even if none of their physical remains are present in the garden.

Can family members help in decorating the Gardens for Memorial Day or at other times?

The garden itself is designed to be a memorial; no further decorations are necessary or permitted.

Some people are used to honoring their deceased loved ones by placing plants, decorations, etc., in cemeteries. If people would like to give one-time or annual gifts to honor those within the garden, the Memorial Garden Committee will channel those into living plants.

CONSENT FORMS are available from the church office.