Cemeteries and churchyards: ‘places for the living’

A Devon botanist was also a Devon priest – and he showed how churchyards can embrace beautiful things:

“God’s Botanist” – Revd. William Keble Martin – Cherishing Sidmouth Cemeteries

The East Devon District Council have created a charming churchyard:

St Gregory’s Seaton: balancing low grass and wild flowers – Cherishing Sidmouth Cemeteries

And there are other churchyards in East Devon which have won awards:

Caring for God’s Acre – in East Budleigh – Cherishing Sidmouth Cemeteries

The Church of England might be taking the notion of caring for God’s Acre a little further:

Local parishes are responsible for about 7,100 hectares (17,500 acres) of churchyards in England. The C of E also owns about 34,000 hectares of farmland, mostly let to tenant farmers, and 9,300 hectares of forestry. Its governing body, the General Synod, will vote later this month on a plan to increase biodiversity and encourage the C of E to develop “land action plans” at parish, diocese and national levels.

Graham Usher, the bishop of Norwich, said the church must “look at how the biodiversity of this often very ancient land, with very old trees and hedgerows attached to it, can be enhanced”. He said: “My dream is that churchyards will be places of the living, not just the dead.”

‘Places of the living’: bishop of Norwich calls for churchyards to be rewilded | Anglicanism | The Guardian

[And perhaps ‘biodiversity’ rather than ‘rewilding’ would be more accurate!]

Here’s the Bishop in his flowery churchyard:

Bishop Graham supports new Land and Nature motion highlighting biodiversity ahead of General Synod. – Diocese of Norwich

And here’s the note from the C of E:

Synod to address biodiversity, safeguarding, racial justice and Prayers of Love and Faith | The Church of England