The St. Philip’s Churchyard is a spiritual space in great harmony with its natural setting amidst trees and stones. To provide additional resting places, we have constructed a St. Philip’s Columbarium and Memorial Garden, which was dedicated on October 14, 2018.
The new Columbarium and Memorial Garden installation is an emotional focal point for remembrance. The design acknowledges that cremation is the preferred mode of burial in the 21st century, and provides a range of burial options in a sacred burial place. The Memorial Garden expands the churchyard into the woodlands on the north side of the St. Philip’s grounds. The space was chosen because of its secluded and peaceful character, providing clear views of the church and the graveyard.
The focal point of the space is a 40' long Columbarium wall containing 96 burial niches for cremains; each niche holds two urns. The wall uses historic capstones that were previously used in a church boundary, and is designed to match the character of the recently rebuilt wall adjacent to Route 9D. The niches are covered with metal plates that will be engraved using a uniform St. Philip’s font when cremains are interred. A landscaped earthen berm encircles the space, which includes artfully placed boulders that will serve as headstones for in-ground burial plots while also serving to stabilize the existing graveyard walls. At the center of the space are three large boulders functioning as seating elements, and a flagstoned patio that contains additional in-ground burial plots. The columbarium is dedicated to the ministry of the Reverend Francis Geer at St. Philip’s. A prayer written by the Rev. Geer is engraved in the stone of the memorial garden.
The space is universally accessible and able to accommodate large gatherings while also remaining an intimate space for remembrance. The vision for this installation came from the St. Philip’s Churchyard and Columbarium Committee and Vestry and landscape architect Samuel Geer from Urban Ecosystems.
The niches are available for purchase to the St. Philip’s community, including donors to our Creating the Future Initiative, at the discretion of the Churchyard and Columbarium Committee in consultation with the Rector. For further information, contact David Gordon at 845.803.9360 or the Church office at 845.424.3571.