We would like to connect with parishes that are exploring Natural Cemeteries or Natural Burial.
Green or ‘Natural’ burial seeks to return remains to the earth as directly and simply as possible. It avoids embalming (and its toxic chemicals), metal caskets and burial vaults that are standard features of the modern funeral.
In their place green burials favour interring the deceased in either cloth shrouds or in simple coffins made from cardboard, wicker or plentiful softwoods, like pine. Bodies are then laid into vault-free graves, often in woodland settings available in the “natural cemeteries”. Headstones, if used at all, are typically fashioned from native fieldstones and set flush to the ground, though shrubs and trees, or a wooden bench may be used instead.
Such natural return is little more than a return to long tradition. Much of what constitutes green burial was once standard practice, not the exception. The goal then and now is the same: to allow the body at death to rejoin the elements it sprang from, to use what remains of a life to regenerate new life, to return dust to dust.
An increasing number of traditional cemeteries are offering a Natural Burial section. However, there is also growth in the establishment of dedicated Natural Burial grounds, particularly in woodland settings, providing a tranquil park like location for family and friends to come and remember their departed loved ones. The concept is particularly developed in the UK, where there are over 100 such sites, many now well established. It is also growing in the USA, and there are a couple of sites in Canada- in BC and Ontario.
The Natural Burial Association of Canada- http://www.naturalburialassoc.ca/, has a very informative website, with some useful links.
Contact Rev. Marian, Coordinator, Environment Network, Diocese of NS & PEI [email protected]
or Ray [email protected] Parish of French Village