Cemeteries and Columbarium

The cemetery at NHPC during summer.

The cemetery at NHPC during summer.

Cemeteries

We have two historic cemeteries on the property. The old cemetery surrounded the first church and contains about 210 visible graves. Of this number of graves, only 89 inscribed stones were recorded, when the cemetery was surveyed in 1975. Up to seven veterans of the Revolutionary War are buried in the old cemetery. The congregation discontinued use of the first cemetery after January 1, 1869, in favor of a new site on higher ground. The first grave in the new cemetery was that of Vernon Craig, the infant son of David Craig. In 1954, James M. Johnston moved all of his family graves and tombstones from the private Johnston Family Cemetery to the new cemetery at New Hope Presbyterian Church. The original family cemetery was on land granted by Royal Charter in 1756 to Charles Wilson Johnstone and his wife, Martha Blackwood Johnstone. Charles’ father was George Johnstone, a Scotsman, who came to America (initially Pennsylvania) in 1732 and was married to Mary Wilson, an Irish woman. Both George and Mary are buried in the new cemetery and are the oldest identified graves.

Read more about our old and new cemeteries. Genealogical researchers and families of those buried in our cemeteries can purchase an official history book or obtain cemetery information by calling our office at (919) 942-4710 or by sending us an email. You can also call our office to arrange an appointment for an on-site consultation.

The Columbarium

The columbarium at NHPC.

The columbarium at NHPC.

Origins of our columbarium date back at least ten years. Our Board of Trustees, chaired by Carmine Prioli, led a major push to document the location of possible sites and to offer various designs, which included drawings made by Andrew Herrington. Ralph Teal, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, picked up the work of previous boards and sought comments from as many people as possible. A building committee, formed in March 2015, included all the trustees, including Clint Burklin, John Stewart and Louis Maness. The committee looked at various designs, evaluating feasibility and estimated costs. They visited columbaria in the local area and found an appropriate basic brick design that appealed to them. The design was modified by the landscape architect, Tony Tate. After becoming a Trustee in January 2016, Charles Nickelson became the primary architect of the project and refined the design to match architectural elements of the church. The Trustees presented a beautiful design and a bid for construction that they had received to a meeting of the congregation on April 3, 2016. The congregation approved the plan and a fund-raising proposal. The Trustees and Session further approved the addition of a permanent brick walkway from the church to the columbarium, the lighting of the columbarium and flagpole, and a set of rules and guidelines for the columbarium. The columbarium was constructed by Incline Construction and the niches were purchased from Eickhof Columbaria. Cremated ashes can be handled three different ways: they can be placed in urns with two per niche, can be placed in a spread garden or can be placed under the grass in a sod garden. Each person’s information will be engraved on granite panels in the columbarium wall.  A dedication service was held on Sunday, January 29, 2017. -Boyd Switzer, NHPC Historian)

Planning for a Service of Witness to the Resurrection

Christians place their hope in eternal life. In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a worship service held to mark a death is called A Service of Witness to the Resurrection. Traditions at the time of death have changed a lot in recent years. We encourage all church members to discuss their desires with their loved ones, and to write down plans in advance. Things to consider when planning a service include: Scripture readings, hymns, pallbearers, and how to receive visitors. The pastor will meet with you to discuss your plans.

Please click on links or contact the church office to get cemetery policies and a funeral / memorial service planning worksheet. This worksheet includes suggested Scripture readings, suggested hymns, and pertinent information.