Zion Lutheran remembers Maple Grove’s forgotten

by John Elmore 8. November 2010 09:59

All was made ready for All Saints’ Day, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010, at Zion Lutheran Church in Comstock Park, Mich. Adorning the walls of Zion’s sanctuary were rubbings of some of the headstones from the old Maple Grove Cemetery.* Once the county poor farm graveyard, this is the final resting place for many lives long forgotten. It is owned by Kent County, and located within and maintained by MapleCreek.  Six days earlier, on a sunny fall afternoon, Pastor Julie Schneider-Thomas, her daughter, and a friend from their church visited MapleCreek to make the rubbings using crayons on sheets of paper. These were put on display and used by Pastor Julie as visuals in her message based on Luke 6:20-31, the beatitudes.


“‘Blessed are the poor, the hungry, the weeping, the hated, the excluded, reviled and defamed.’ Jesus is telling us that, despite outward appearances and conventional wisdom, such folks are not forgotten by God,” Pastor Julie said. “The Maple Grove Cemetery especially tugged at my heart. … The people buried there may have had a difficult life, they may have been laid to rest anonymously, their graves maybe simple or forgotten altogether, but they are blessed.” She went on to note how appropriate it is that those who were buried there are surrounded on all sides by the MapleCreek community of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, “an extension of the church, dedicated ‘to meeting the needs of people, upholding human dignity, and advocating equality and justice.’”

*A project to renovate the cemetery is awaiting funding and volunteers.



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