Caring for God’s Acre

If you are interested in the churchyard, and our plans to develop it for the benefit of wildlife and visitors alike, you might enjoy this recent article…

Six years ago, the Church Council (PCC) made the decision to pay for a sunken grave to be restored, and it’s a decision that we still draw inspiration from.

Raising the stone was a feat that required specialist equipment, and the operation was costly, but in the absence of relations to care for the grave, we felt strongly that this was the right thing to do. Our small worshipping community at Caldecote Church is committed to caring for the forgotten, following in the steps of Jesus Christ who always made the marginalised his priority.

We are at our very best as humans when we are together: in good relationships with each other, and in fruitful harmony with the creation around us. And churchyards above all are places of the community and of nature.

Six years on from the grave restoration, I am grateful to Andy and Kyle O’Mullane, Mary Scholefield and John and Catherine our church neighbours at The Old Rectory for their work in developing and beginning to implement a wider plan for the churchyard to make it welcoming for wildlife and people alike.

The plan seeks to define areas of shorter and longer grass and wildflower meadow to encourage a natural habitat for flora and fauna while making it a place of beauty accessible to all who visit or pass through the grounds, whether as dog walkers using the public footpath, as relatives tending graves or those simply wanting to spend some time soaking up the tranquillity of the place.

A note to relatives who tend graves:
One part of the churchyard development plan that we have not yet been able to implement is the mowing of paths through the graveyard area itself, due to the use of glass jars for flowers on graves, which have proved too dangerous for both the lawnmower operator and for the machine itself – jars have a habit of hiding in grass and causing havoc when the mower seeks them out! If you tend a grave in the churchyard, please don’t leave any glass containers on or near the grave, for the safety of all users of the church grounds.

You can find more information about our churchyard development plans on our website (follow ‘Venues’ in the menu and click on the ‘Churchyard’ tab) or on the display boards in the church itself.

Click the image to enlarge

As well as being a place of community and beauty, the churchyard is also a place of hope – what the burial service liturgy calls the “sure and certain hope” of eternal life. This is what the 19th-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow alludes to in his poem from which I drew the title of my article, “God’s Acre”. I will leave you with a few of its lines:

Into its furrows shall we all be cast,
In the sure faith, that we shall rise again
At the great harvest, when the archangel’s blast
Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain.
Then shall the good stand in immortal bloom,
In the fair gardens of that second birth;
And each bright blossom mingle its perfume
With that of flowers, which never bloomed on earth.

With best wishes,
Dona McCullagh (Churchwarden)

For more information on the plans for the churchyard, click ‘Venues’ in the menu and look under the ‘Churchyard’ tab.

All church developments