J. Edward Lilja Memorial Garden

Description and purpose

The Memorial Garden not only beautifies an area of our church grounds, but it also provides a place to honor and remember people from our congregation and community who rest in the sure and certain hope of resurrection into eternal life.  The Memorial Garden is designed to be a place of beauty, inspiration, encouragement, peace, tranquility, and prayer.  It is a place where family and friends can meditate and remember loved ones. 

Individuals may have their cremated ashes scattered in the garden, or have their urn placed in a niche in the columbarium located in the garden.

In today’s busy and mobile society where people move from community to community and often do not have ties to a single community, what better than to have a memorial and final resting place near a church which held meaning during life?  The Memorial Garden is an integral part of our church facility and is an expression of our Christian faith and love.  

In our Baptism we are joined to the Body of Christ.  Throughout our lives we hear the Good News of God’s love proclaimed and join in the service and fellowship of Christ through our work through the Church and in the world.  At our death we remain united with the whole church as we celebrate the victory of new life that is ours through Christ.

The Memorial Garden brings to all a message of assurance and peace.  It is natural that the church should be a site for committal of ashes and the last rites of comfort.  Through the J. Edward Lilja Memorial Garden, St. Andrew Lutheran Church offers this ministry as another means of proclaiming our faith and serving those in need.


The Memorial Garden will be maintained by St. Andrew Lutheran Church.  A Memorial Garden Fund will be established from gifts and fees associated with interments in the garden for the maintenance of the garden.


All are welcome.


Memorial gifts are welcome and may be made to the church at any time. These funds will be placed in the Memorial Garden Fund, reserved for the maintenance and furnishing of the garden.


Interment in the Garden

The fee for scattering of human ashes in the garden is $500.  This fee includes the cost for engraving the name, date of birth, and date of death of the person on the side of the columbarium, and the care of the garden area.  A permanent record of those interred in the garden will be kept in the church office as well.

Interment in the Columbarium

The fee for interment in the columbarium is $1250 per person ($2500 per niche).  The fee covers the space in the columbarium, the cost of opening and closing the niche, and engraving the name plate (Name, date of birth and date of death) on the front of the niche, and the care of the garden area.  A permanent record of those interred in the columbarium will be kept in the church office as well. 

Financial Assistance

If it is deemed necessary, waiving some or all of the fees associated with scattering ashes in the Memorial Garden is possible.  A minimum fee of $250 provides the cost for engraving.  In some cases, even this fee can be waived.  All financial aid must be approved by the pastor.


Records of persons interred in the Memorial Garden will be kept by the church.  No record of the physical place in the garden where the scattered ashes are interred will be kept.

Interment of Ashes

The designated person or persons’ ashes will be scattered in the garden during a service of committal.  The ashes will not be preserved intact or recoverable.

Those interred in the columbarium will likewise be interred during a committal service and will remain intact in their niche perpetually.

Application Procedure

Application for the scattering of cremated ashes or placement in the columbarium may be made in the church office.  In addition, arrangements may be made through Copeland Funeral Home (867 5th Avenue Coraopolis PA) as other funeral arrangements are being made.

Memorial Garden Policy

Garden Grounds Exclusions

Only those items built into the garden are permitted in the garden area.  The church has provided walkways, benches, shrubbery, and flowering plants to adorn the garden. 

Only cremated ashes will be allowed to be added to the Memorial Garden. There will be no additional markers, paintings, ornaments, balloons, glass vases, statues, plantings, flowers, wood or metal objects or additional decorations (urns, flags, chimes, flowers, etc.) added to the Memorial Garden.  Such objects will be removed from the garden.


Cremated remains are to be given to the church in a biodegradable or disposable vessel for scattering in the garden. 

 Additional exclusions may be added to this document in the future by the Church Council

Right to Alter, Move, or Remove the Memorial Garden

The St. Andrew Lutheran Church at its sole discretion has the right to remove, relocate or dismantle the Memorial Garden if the Church deems it is in its best interest.  The Church will not incur any liability or obligation resulting from the loss or disturbance of the scattered ashes in the Memorial Garden.

If St. Andrew Lutheran Church has to relocate in the future, the Columbarium, and some portion of the garden soil containing a sampling of the cremains will be moved to the congregation’s new location.  In that way, the Memorial Garden will continue in perpetuity.

Emergencies or Special Situations

The Church Council and pastor are authorized to resolve any unique, emergency, and/or special situation that may arise, and make binding rulings on behalf of the church.


The Memorial Garden is not a cemetery.  The garden is perpetual in nature and is a non-commercial venture that is the property of St. Andrew Lutheran Church.  No rights or privileges of any nature are deemed or granted to families of those having ashes scattered.  All rights are reserved by St. Andrew Lutheran Church and its Board of Trustees to make changes, now or in the future, to this policy and to the Memorial Garden.