Re-imagining the Cemetery To Remain Relevant In A New Era

Gone are the days when the local cemetery was a mainstay in the community. 

Times really have changed, and people today are far less likely to use a cemetery as their final resting place. 

In fact, there’s a prevalent fear among funeral professionals that cemeteries will someday become…

(don’t shoot the messenger here)


But, with a little creativity and A LOT of flexibility we believe these tips can help set you up for success at your cemetery, no matter what kinds of changes the world brings about:


Understanding the decline of the cemetery

We know fewer and fewer folks are including the cemetery in their end of life plans, but why? Here’s a few reasons:

People are distracted

There’s a lot going on these days. A couple generations ago, we human beings didn’t have so much input. Today, we all have information coming at us from all directions, 24/7. Information overload keeps our attention jumping from one thing to the next. Years ago, visiting the local cemetery to pay respects to a loved one was a common activity. Today, not so much. 


They have other options. 

When someone died many years ago, it was a given that they’d be interred at the local cemetery. And, that family and friends would gather there to memorialize them. That’s no longer the norm. An increasing number of people are opting for cremation, and there are numerous alternatives becoming available. There are tree burials, human composting, and even gemstones made from cremated ashes


They have other ways to connect

A funeral home or cemetery is not the only place where people get together when someone dies anymore. Nor is it a main gathering place within a community. Unfortunate, but true. So, what can we do to change it?


Reclaiming your place in the community at your cemetery

Anyone who runs a cemetery has their work cut out for them. They must remind people of the ways a cemetery can add value to their lives. This doesn’t just mean selling them on burial plots and funeral services either.

If you get creative, you can position your cemetery as a relevant and important part of your community. Here are some ideas cemeteries around the country have used to reconnect with the people around them: 


Hold holiday events

Cemeteries can actually be an ideal place to host holiday-themed gatherings. Memorial day flag placing events are a go-to, but you can do whatever you think people in your area might be receptive to. If you are somewhere people are environmentally conscious, setting up an Earth Day event where people plant trees or clean up the grounds.


Host stargazing parties.

Cemeteries tend to be dark at night, which makes them a very cool place to look at stars and constellations. And gazing at heavenly bodies can be a special and moving activity at a cemetery. Consider inviting people to your property for an evening of looking upward. 


Offer scenic nighttime tours

Some cemeteries have invited the public to take night-time tours of their property. An illuminated mausoleum, lighted paths, and twinkling trees make for beautiful displays against a darkened sky.  


Consider teaching monument restoration

In many cemeteries, there are very old stones in need of restoration. You can hold a workshop for volunteers who want to help with this task. This is a great way to empower people to help beautify their local cemetery and learn a new skill. Activities like this can be particularly enriching for kids and teens who could use some hands-on experiences that connect them with their local history. 


History tours

Speaking of history… You have the opportunity to foster a unique connection between the past and present by providing an educational experience for kids (and adults!) to learn about some interesting local history. Every cemetery has interesting and notable people resting on its grounds. Create a tour and some literature for locals to learn more about those who came before them. 


Over to you

These are just a few ways you could open up your cemetery to the people around you. We encourage you to reach out and connect with this fast-paced generation as much as you can. Remind them that you are a safe and comfortable place they can come to. That you are a fundamental part of the community. And, that you provide an important and immeasurable value to everyone who lives there.  


How is your cemetery adapting to the changing times? Tell us in the comments below!

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  1. Humorcity

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