East Lansing Rewind: The Peoples Church Memorial Garden

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Sunday, February 8, 2015, 6:00 am
Jennifer Hill

Where can you go in East Lansing when you need a place that is the picture of peacefulness and tranquility? The Peoples Church Memorial Garden is one such place. For the past 20 years, the Memorial Garden has provided respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown for many in our community and a final resting place for the cremains of church members and their immediate family.

The Peoples Church formed a committee in 1994 to permanently dedicate space on the east side of the church building as a final resting place for the cremains of members and their immediate family. The committee comprised of Richard Murdoch, Robert Potter, Edith Newman and Sandy Bryson worked together with landscape designers Martin & Associates to create the Memorial Garden that would be the only place inside the city limits where cremains could be interred.

Built and dedicated in 1995, the garden has 350 interment tubes that can host 4 sets of cremains each for a total of 1200 sets of cremains. The church also offers scattering of cremains in specified areas. All interments and scatterings are recorded in the church office Memorial Garden book and families can opt for a bronze plaque with their loved one’s name as well if desired. The garden is home to many beautiful flowering plants and trees, a pond, walking path scattered with bricks of dedication for those interred, scattered, as well as former clergy and staff of the church, and benches for people to sit and enjoy the beauty or reflect on a loved one.

In the spring and summer the garden is vibrant and full of activity. There are ducks who come and make their nests and raise their ducklings, fish swimming in the pond, and a variety of other animals scurrying about. The garden is an important teaching tool for The Peoples Church Preschool as they frequently walk through the garden with the children taking note of the different plants and animals that call it home. During the busy festival season in downtown, the garden is frequently host to guests traveling to and from the various festivals searching for a place to rest and find a little peace and quiet.

Andy Mayville, building superintendent at The Peoples Church, also noted that the garden would become increasingly “important greenspace with the development going on all around” the church. In anticipation of the increasing need for quiet greenspace, the church is planning several projects to renovate the garden. The north end will receive a new pond and fencing and new plantings are also planned for the near future. With all of the proposed construction around the church property, the Memorial Garden will be more visible to the public as they travel the new downtown area, something the church hopes brings new visitors to the space.

All are welcome in the Memorial Garden at The Peoples Church, so be sure to stop by next time you are downtown. For more information about interment or scattering, please contact The Peoples Church office at 517-332-5073.

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