Planning the Piedmont UU Memorial Garden

Planning the Piedmont UU Memorial Garden

The congregation celebrated the dedication of its sanctuary in September 1998, 20 years ago. Since then, many members have expressed the hope that we might have a memorial garden on our campus. That work has now officially begun! The Board of Trustees appointed an ad hoc committee several months ago to lead this effort, and at the September meeting recently, the board voted to approve a site for a memorial circle, directly behind the sanctuary, as a result of the committee’s initial planning work.

Members of the Memorial Garden Committee include Michelle Murphy, Pauline Tulson, Elaine Slaton, Jeff Blum, Rev. Mary Frances and Anne Laukaitis. Anne is serving as chair. The team has visited several other gardens in the area, including Holy Covenant United Church of Christ, Central United Methodist Church in Concord, 1st Presbyterian Memorial Garden in Concord, Park Road Montessori School and the gardens at UNC Charlotte; these gardens have been a source of many good ideas. They have drafted a plan and have interviewed two prospective contractors to do the work.

When the committee has identified the contractor and have estimates of the cost, the team will finalize a business plan for raising the necessary funds and present it to the Board of Trustees for their approval. They hope to come to the congregation with the plan early in 2019. Members will be able to make a donation, purchase an inscribed brick for the walkway or memorial circle in memory or in honor of a loved one, have a brick inscribed with a quotation, donate a bench or tree, etc. It will be possible to bury ashes in a prescribed spot in the garden or have a niche in a specially built wall.

The garden will begin at the memorial tree for Micah Arrants and continue along the side of the sanctuary and down a curving brick walkway to the memorial circle. The path will be ADA compliant. A second path will lead from the patio directly to the circle.

The entire area on all sides will be cleared of fallen tree limbs, ivy, weeds, etc, and be replanted and mulched. Large hedges that impede the view from the sanctuary windows may be transplanted to form a screen for the garden from Mallard Creek Road. There will be a water feature in the garden.

Although the paved walkway will extend only as far as the circle, the entire path is cleared now all the way to the end of the church campus and can be easily walked. Close to the end, the path circles back up to the parking lot. The board expressed much appreciation to parents from the Piedmont Progressive Preschool who carried out much of the clearing of the nature trail. It is possible benches will be placed along the trail at places; other small areas for meditation and quiet may also be developed.

2019 promises to be a time of campus renewal for Piedmont UU Church, with a beautiful garden and improved grounds, bringing us much joy and pride in our church! Jeff provided this quote from Scottish poet Thomas Campbell: “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

Anne Laukaitis,
Board of Trustees Secretary