4-12 June – a week celebrating and raising awareness of churchyard, burial grounds and the treasures they contain.
Churches get ready for Cherishing Churchyards Week.
Saturday 4th June to Sunday 12th June 2016 marks a special week celebrating and raising awareness of churchyards, burial grounds and the treasures they contain.
Organised by Caring for God’s Acre, a number of churches across the Diocese are taking part. At St. Laurence-in-Thanet, local residents will be able to enjoy a tour of the churchyard with Barbara Byne on Saturday 4th June at 10am. The churchyard contains the graves of a number of notable historical figures including: Sir William Garrow, the pioneering barrister who helped establish the modern adversarial system and made famous the notion of ‘innocent until proven guilty’; two grandchildren of George III, the children of the King’s sixth son the Earl of Sussex.
A walk through Egerton churchyard is arranged for Saturday 11th June at 2pm, with the specific aim of trying to identify which types of lichens are present in the churchyard. It will be led by Ishpi Blatchley, a member of the churchyards sub-committee of the British Lichen Society, who is looking forward to making some exciting discoveries and compiling a list for the records. It’s open to all and free of charge.
As well as providing a tranquil place for quiet reflection, churchyards are special places as they often include a rich diversity of plant, tree and animal life, and are important places for archaeology and history. They are also often within walking distance of local communities. Canon Caroline Pinchbeck, Director of the Communities and Partnerships Framework said that they can provide a focus for community involvement.
“Cherishing Churchyards Week is a great way for churches to welcome the community into their backyard. Many people may walk past a churchyard on their daily commute, or on the school run, and not think twice about what is contained within them; they may even think they not allowed to step inside. I would encourage anyone interested in celebrating their churchyard or burial ground to get involved and share what is there with the community around them.”
The Caring for God’s Acre website has lots of ideas for how to get involved with Cherishing Churchyards Week including: mini-beast safaris, guided tours, volunteering activities such as making compost areas or scything the grass, and ideas around offering workshops on plant identification, animal identification and geology.