SARTELL -- A project over a decade in the making is now complete at one central Minnesota church. First United Methodist Church in Sartell dedicated their new Memorial Garden Sunday morning.

Bill Meier is the chair of the garden sanctuary committee. He says it quickly became about more than just a garden during construction.

Others wanted a labyrinth, we wanted to find a place for our church bell, we needed someplace for our outdoor gathering and for our wood-fired bread oven, and for outdoor worship, so it really grew from being just a memorial project to something much bigger.

The sanctuary will allow all members of the community the option to have their loved ones’ name engraved on the wall, or ashes interred or scattered in the garden for a fee. Meier says cremation is not only more cost-effective, but also a more-earth friendly alternative to traditional burials.

It takes 21 square feet for a traditional burial plot whereas we can have potentially thousands of people honored here in this way forever and not take up more and more precious soil.

The first interment in the garden is expected to take place this fall.

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