Serenity Memorial Garden at Roscoe Methodist Church becomes a reality


The Roscoe Methodist Serenity Garden is expected to be open to the community this summer. The ash and remembrance garden will provide a peaceful area for reflection or to lay their loved ones to rest. The garden is located on the corner of Reed Lane and Race Street, near the church parking lot.

The idea of a memorial and cremains garden at Roscoe United Methodist Church (RUMC ) has been dear to the heart of church member Jenny Bevins for over ten years.

Bevins’ inspiration came from the memorial garden on the grounds of Riverside Community Church, at 6816 N. Second St. in Loves Park, and a young Boy Scout named Kevin Bell.

Bell earned his Eagle Scout badge in 2013, by leading a group of volunteers in refurbishing and reviving the memorial garden at the church.

Familiar with the history of the garden at Riverside Church, Bevins and a group from RUMC formed a committee and began laying the groundwork for creating an even larger, low-maintenance memorial garden at Roscoe United Methodist Church, 10816 Main St. in Roscoe.

With the blessings of senior pastor Paul Meyers, the RUMC church board, and the generosity of the church community, the remembrance garden on the church property is on its way to becoming a reality.

Bevins sought the help of the RUMC Garden Club to take over the fundraising portion. Club member Tammy Shoevlin agreed to head up the project.

The first step was to secure funding. “Through many generous donations, we have all of our funds and are ready to start building in early summer,” Shoevlin said.

The cost of the entire structure is $67,000.

Going forward, donations from individuals, family groups and organizations will also be needed for auxiliary items such as electrical hook-up for future lighting, water, plaques, crosses at the entry, external flames structures, and American flag poles.

RH Landscape & Design, located in Janesville, WI, is assisting in designing the space.

The tranquil garden will be located at the corner of Reed Lane and Race Street, past the northwest corner of the church parking lot. It will give church members, as well as members of the community, a serene and peaceful location to reflect, pray and memorialize, or lay their loved ones to rest.

Surrounded by trees, bushes and landscaping, the garden will feature a 25 foot brick, half circle patio area, a terraced area for cremains, and a five feet walkway from the driveway.

Shrubs and flowers will be planted throughout. Reliable wall structures and seating area will be provided in both the patio and terraced areas. The garden will be ADA accessible with railings, ramp and lighting where needed.

Cremains will not be interred under bricks in the patio area. The cremains will be co-mingled and spread in the terraced area below the patio.

Memorial bricks will be available for purchase. Engraving will be done through Gift Brick & Tile, located in Sturtevant, WI.

The bricks can be purchased for $125, $150 and $175, depending on size. The sale of the bricks will generate maintenance and future improvements in the garden. Ordering will be done on-line.

There will be a nominal fee for non-church members to have cremains placed.

According to Shoevlin, there will be a designated person to oversee the placement of the cremains.

“Serenity Memorial Garden will be a community-wide program,” Shoevlin said. “It will be open to everyone. You don't have to be a church member to visit the garden.”

The garden is on track to open in early summer. To date, 75 bricks have been purchased.

Shoevlin said bricks purchased and engraved before Feb. 1 will be placed during the structure build.

There is no charge for visiting, or for placing memorial bricks in the garden patio area, with the exception of the cost of the bricks.

"The Serenity Garden is not a cemetery. No urns will be allowed, no advertising, and no flags or flowers except on designated days." 

"I am proud of the thorough work the committee has done to build something with integrity and beauty that will last," Pastor Meyers said. 

For more information about the project, or if you would like to donate to the construction of the garden, contact Doris Tropp at 815-623-2292 or Tammy Shoevlin at 815-289-1105.

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