Burial Grounds, Pastoral Care, and Property and Grounds Committees
Proposed Burial Grounds Policy, 10.28.19

Background

The Third Haven Friends Meeting established the Burial Grounds Committee, as a subcommittee of the Property and Grounds Committee, to review current burial grounds conditions and documentation, and to develop policy for the long-term use and care of the Meeting burial grounds. In consultation and collaboration, the Burial Grounds, the Pastoral Care and the Property and Grounds Committees propose the following policy for the use, management, oversight and care of the Third Haven Friends Meeting burial grounds.

The standing Burial Committee of the Meeting consists of the clerk of the Meeting, the clerk of the Property and Grounds Committee, and the clerk of the Pastoral Care Committee. The Burial Committee receives and responds to requests for burial in the Meeting burial grounds, grave markers and/or plaques on the brick wall adjacent to the burial grounds. The Burial Committee reviews requests for burial, grave marker or plaque, as set forth in Third Haven the Memorial Intentions of the deceased, on file with the Pastoral Care Committee, or in a request by the surviving family members. The Burial Committee decides on the eligibility for the burial, grave marker and/or plaque and supports the arrangements for the burial, grave marker and/or plaque, consistent with Meeting policy and practices.

The Meeting and the Pastoral Care Committee encourage Third Haven members and regular attenders to complete the Memorial Intentions Form, which should include explicit directions for burial and memorial service. The Pastoral Care Committee maintains these Memorial Intentions records. Members, regular attenders and their families should maintain and update their Memorial Intentions, as appropriate, and communicate all updates to the Pastoral Care Committee.

Documentation

At present, the Meeting and the Property and Grounds Committee maintain documentation on the Meeting burial grounds. This is possible through the careful and thorough surveys and work of McKenny Willis, Charles Owens, and Tom Bartlett in 1960, and Clarence Barker in 2001. Meeting Committees are very grateful to John Hawkinson for maintaining and elaborating the burial grounds documentation in good order. At present burial grounds documentation consists of:

Nevertheless, some burials and graves may be undocumented at present.

Current Conditions

At present the burial grounds are well maintained. The boundaries are not clearly marked. There is room for the expansion of burial sites. Nearly all grave markers are erect, but many are very worn by time. Since 1999, 44 plaques have been installed on the brick wall at the back (west side) of the Meeting burial grounds. There is a good deal of space on the brick wall for additional plaques. Most grave markers show the wear of time. Dates and names are not readable on many grave markers. Inscriptions on top show more wear than those on the front.

Proposed Burial Grounds Policies

1. Eligibility

Members and regular attenders, and members of their immediate family (parents and children), may be buried in the burial grounds, have grave markers and/or have plaques installed on the wall. In general, the Meeting expects members and regular attenders to attend meeting for worship, participate in doing the work of the Meeting and financially support the Meeting. Such members, regular attenders and members of their immediate family shall be eligible to be buried, have grave markers or have plaques on the wall, in the Third Haven burial grounds, subject to the approval of the Burial Committee.

Those who ask to be buried in the Meeting burial grounds or have plaques installed, but do not have current or recent, meaningful involvement in the life of the Meeting, as set forth above, may be deemed ineligible, by the Burial Committee.

2. Requests

All requests—including Memorial Intentions filed with the Pastoral Care Committee, for burial in the burial grounds, grave markers and/or plaques—shall be communicated to the standing Burial Committee of the Meeting. The Burial Committee consists of the clerk of the Meeting, the clerk of the Property and Grounds Committee and the clerk of the Pastoral Care Committee. The Burial Committee will receive and respond to each request for burial, grave marker or plaque, as set forth by the deceased, in Third Haven Memorial Intentions, or as requested in writing by the surviving family members. The Burial Committee decides on the eligibility for the burial, grave marker and/or plaque, and supports the arrangements for the burial, grave marker or plaque.

3. Costs

All costs associated with a burial, grave marker or plaque shall be borne by the estate of the deceased, or his or her surviving family members.

4. Cremated Remains

The cremated remains of members, regular attenders, and their immediate family members may be buried in the Third Haven burial grounds. Unless a member or regular attender has requested a casket burial in Memorial Intentions, filed with the Pastoral Care Committee, prior to December 31, 2019, all burials must be of cremated remains in a container. As of December 31, 2019, only cremated remains may be interred in the burial grounds. As of that date no more casket burials will be allowed.

5. Grave Markers and Plaques

Most existing grave markers are marble. There are some granite markers. All new grave markers must be in keeping with the Quaker testimony on Simplicity. Grave makers must be of a size, scale, form and composition that is consistent with the existing historic grave markers, present in the burial grounds. Those requesting a grave marker or plaque shall secure the approval of the Burial Committee for the grave marker or plaque to be installed.

6. Grave Sites

Members and regular attenders may request and reserve specific sites in the burial grounds for their internment in their Memorial Intentions. The request for a specific grave site or plaque location shall be done in consultation with a member of the Pastoral Care Committee, so that the reserved site location can be properly documented. The Pastoral Care Committee shall record and maintain records of reserved burial sites, as set forth in Memorial Intentions. The Burial Committee shall approve all burial sites not previously reserved in Memorial Intentions.

Next Steps

This proposed Burial Grounds Policy has been approved—by the Burial Grounds Committee, charged with developing the policy, the Pastoral Care Committee, and the Property and Grounds Committee—for presentation to the meeting for business for approval.

The Clerk of Pastoral Care Committee will revise the Memorial Intentions Form to provide for an opportunity for members and regular attenders to request and reserve specific grave sites and plaque locations. The Pastoral Care Committee will designate a Burial Grounds Archivist, who will check the site request for a burial site or plaque location against the burial grounds and wall site maps, to ensure that the documentation is in good order. The Burial Grounds Archivist shall be an ex-officio member of the Pastoral Care Committee. At present, John Hawkinson serves in this role, quite admirably.

Third Haven Friends Monthly Meeting is a member of Southern Quarterly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends General Conference of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Meetings for Worship: Sundays 10:00AM, Wednesdays 5:30PM; (Childcare available on Sundays.)

Meetings for Worship with Attention to Business: 2nd Sunday of the Month following Meeting for Worship (except for the months of July and August)

Contact: 405 S. Washington St., Easton, MD 21601; (410) 822-0293; 3rdhaven@gmail.com; Find Us on Facebook; Clerk Molly Burgoyne Brian


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