Anglican Church of the Americas

Elmwood Cemetery Infant Burial Plots

40 New Infant Burial Plots Dedicated at Elmwood - December 29, 2009

Elmwood Cemetery Dedicates New Infant Burial Plots

Four years to the day since the dedication of Princeton Baptist Medical Center's baby cemetery, the hospital on Monday held another service at Elmwood Cemetery to bless 40 new infant burial plots.

"There is no loss as tragic as that of a child," said the Rev. Leonard Gavin, the hospital's chaplain, during the 30-minute service that drew about 30 people. "This is a place of great peace and comfort."

The cemetery is used for infant burial families who are financially unable to provide funeral expenses.

"Before the baby burial plots became available, indigent parents had few options," said Marcia Davis, a Princeton nurse whose duties include working in bereavement services. "In past years, for example, some cemeteries donated burial space when possible or allowed a tiny infant to buried in a corner of a family plot," Davis said. When all avenues were exhausted, there was only one option left: incineration by the hospital.

"To have to do that is horrible, just horrible," she said.

Monday's dedication, like that in 2005, was held on the Feast of the Holy Innocents. It commemorates the baby boys slain in Bethlehem when King Herod tried to kill the infant Jesus. "It seemed appropriate," Gavin said, "to hold the service on a day the church sets aside to remember the Biblical infants."

Led by two altar boys, one carrying a cross, Gavin sprinkled holy water on the site. He was accompanied by two ministers, the Reverends Demetrics Roscoe and Julian Davis. Gavin invited them to participate, the ministers said.

"It just touched my heart," said Reverend Roscoe of Living Church Ministries.

Davis, of New Covenant Bible Church, said he came because he loves the community. The service, and the baby cemetery, show "that God finds every life precious and to have dignity," he said.

The additional grave sites in the annex double the capacity of the original baby cemetery, which has 40 plots. The hospital's auxiliary bought most of the additional land, and Virginia George, a retired Nashville nurse, donated some plots, hospital officials said.

"There are 38 babies buried at the site, the most recent buried a week ago," Gavin said.

A large gray granite marker at the site is flanked by two gray granite benches where families can sit during a visit. There are a few flat tombstones and a number of unmarked graves. "There is one tiny grave known to a family by the blue Hot Wheels-style miniature toy car lying on the scrubby grass," said Kelly Arnette, a hospital spokeswoman.

"That's where a child was buried whose family didn't have money for a stone," she said.


This article was publish on Tuesday, December 29, 2009 in The Birmingham News.















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