UUFR’s Memorial Program provides opportunities to honor and preserve the legacy of Fellowship members, family, and friends, whether living or deceased. Gifts given to the Fellowship in memory or in honor of someone are received and held by UUFR’s Memorial Fund, a restricted fund of the Fellowship administered by the Memorial Committee.
Donations to the Memorial Fund are generally in the form of a cash gift to honor or remember a specific individual. Uses of these gifts are specified by either the donor or the family of the person being honored. These uses range from library books, hymnals, plants and furnishings to sculpture, artwork, and building projects. Sometimes these projects are long-range, such as landscaping for a new building or seed money for construction of new building. The Memorial Fund was started in 1974, when gifts were given in memory of Richard Pinkerton, the first Fellowship death.
The Memorial Committee is a subcommittee of the Aesthetics Committee. It is responsible for providing information about memorial giving, accounting for the receipt and disbursement of memorial donations, and planning for future memorial projects. The full Aesthetics Committee reviews all proposed memorials for appropriateness to the Fellowship’s buildings and grounds. Their ministry is to provide our Fellowship with beautiful surroundings that convey the sense that our buildings and surroundings are valued and respected.
Located in the woods east of Fellowship Hall, the Memorial Garden is one of the long-term projects of the Memorial Committee. Its final design calls for two connected circles of walkways, reflecting the overlapping circle symbol of Unitarian Universalism. Red granite steles positioned along the walkways bear the names of deceased Fellowship members and friends.
Construction of the Memorial Garden began in the 1990s, and its development continues today with the purchase of new steles and ongoing plans for completing the circular design. Paths, plantings, seating, a fountain, and a chalice make the garden an ideal place for ceremonies and remembrance of loved ones.
Ashes may be buried or scattered in the garden. A biodegradable container or freely scattered ashes are acceptable. Policies associated with the garden are approved by the UUFR Board of Directors, and information packets are available from the Memorial Committee.
The Memorial Committee administers scholarships established from gifts to the Memorial Fund. For example, an endowment created to honor Irene Chang provides scholarships for young people in the congregation to attend UU leadership conferences and camps. The David Manifold Campership was established in his memory for UU youth to attend programs at the Mountain, a UU retreat center.
Memorial gifts are traditionally given at the time of a person’s death, often in lieu of flowers. They are a way of showing that a person was important and will be missed. However, memorial gifts can also be made on the anniversary of a death, or on another date significant in the life of an individual, or in honor of a living person.
Past Memorial Fund projects include the concert grand piano in the sanctuary, the bronze chalice on the front of the building, benches and granite steps in the Memorial Garden, library shelving, the sanctuary chairs, and sculpture and artwork inside the building and outside on the grounds. The new Wade Avenue sign is a recent gift to the Memorial Program.
Some suggestions for future memorial gifts are:
UUFR has an endowment that is administered by the Unitarian Universalism Fellowship of Raleigh Foundation, and gifts and bequests can be made to the UUFR Foundation.
The UUFR Foundation is UUFR's savings account for the future. The investment income from the endowment may be used to finance UUFR facilities, enrich our programs, and help meet needs that are outside the operating expenses of UUFR; the income cannot be used for congregational operating costs or for designated items for the Fellowship.
In contrast, the Memorial Fund uses the principal of its donations for more immediate projects. When a donation is received, a member of the Memorial Committee will meet with the donor or family to discuss uses for the donation. The money the Memorial Fund receives is set aside until the family decides how they wish the funds to be used. However, bequests to UUFR with no designation and no direction from the family are credited to the endowment UUFR Fund.