Memorial Garden History

by Vince Dezuzio

First, a little jump back in Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church (LCPC) Sanctuary history is needed. About 11 years ago, it was recognized that the lack of available burial plots on our church grounds was an area of concern. There were thoughts of Sanctuary modifications that might include a columbarium, a vault with niches for urns containing the ashes of the deceased. The idea was rejected and there was no resolution for the situation. 


Then, a year later, a much-loved LCPC member, Mary Lynn Bradshaw, supported by her husband, Lacy, had an idea to add a Memorial Garden to our wonderful campus. She visited many other churches with memorial gardens and proposed ideas for LCPC’s garden.  Mary Lynn is now with our Lord, hopefully looking down at her dream come to pass, a beautiful area where many can visit to reflect on the lives of those interred in the garden.


Mary Lynn appealed to our Board of Trustees, then led by Jim Helpinstill, to bring the idea to life. Jim achieved the support of Session and proceeded to gain permission from the Township to move forward with the project. John Stetina, another faithful LCPC member and Trustee, also now with our Lord, led the effort to organize and conceptualize the project including working with an architect, reviewing the drawings, and holding information sessions during the coffee hours. Once approved by the Congregation and Township, John then followed up with gathering bids and presenting a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Trustees Jayne Lambo and Andy Nowack assisted with the monitoring of work progress.


The Board of Trustees coordinated the project, but there were many others who helped to sustain the momentum. I have tried to recognize all who participated, but for those who may have not been named, please be assured that you can share in the success of the project. The Memorial Garden was dedicated on October 28, 2012 which was also LCPC’s 175th Anniversary! God bless John for his tireless efforts in working with contractors and getting the overall job done.


Post construction and maintenance have been and will be ongoing efforts. Shona Erlenborn chose the plantings and decorative stone for the front section of the garden.  She has been the main keeper of the Memorial Garden from its completion, sometimes with the help from her mom and dad when they were visiting from Scotland. 


Many others have pitched in over the years to weed and mulch the area.  Trustee Danna Valsecchi procured two large rocks for mounting brass placards to honor those interred and donors.  Ken Szabo and Don Sisto took charge of moving and securing the rocks in place.  Danna procured a lovely entrance sign to identify the Memorial Garden.


For about eight years there has been a standing joke about getting the fountain in the Memorial Garden into operating order so that the project could be considered done. With some guiding thoughts from Dick Carr, Bob Gamble and I unlocked the secrets of the fountain and made it functional and solar powered. 


After the recent completion and activation of the long awaited fountain, I can happily announce that the Memorial Garden is now complete! I encourage you to visit the garden and enjoy its beauty and peacefulness that your fellow worshippers have worked very hard to establish and maintain.