Church cemeteries have a long-standing history, legacy, and sacredness within our communities. As a way of respecting the saints who have gone on before us, the upkeep and care of cemeteries is important. While it is a vital part of a cemetery’s function, cemetery maintenance can become a financial burden on a church over time, especially without an endowment providing funds for maintenance and care. A cemetery association is also a great option to turn over upkeep and care to a group of dedicated individuals.
Create an Endowment Fund for a Church Cemetery
An endowment (or planned giving) fund can be invested to support church ministry programs such as cemetery maintenance, missions, scholarships, and building maintenance long-term.
Create a Cemetery Association
In order to preserve the cemetery grounds, its legacy, and relieve costs of maintenance and management (alongside potential liability), the church can create and turn over care and maintenance to a cemetery association. The cemetery association can be created as a non-profit organization*, opening up cemetery management and maintenance to non-church members who have a vested interest in the grounds (such as family members or those who plan to be buried there). Once the cemetery association is created, the church will deed the cemetery to the association. This is a way a church can continue to protect its cemetery, regardless of what happens to the church building. The cemetery association can also set up an endowment maintenance fund through the UM Foundation to enable gifts to help support the cemetery over time.
For more information and resources on creating a cemetery association, visit: www.alwfumf.org/cemetery-association.
*Contact the UM Foundation for more details and steps towards creating a cemetery association and/or cemetery endowment.