Fake flower story troubled us

In its September 23 edition, the Hook published an article entitled "Grave matter: Faux flower ban riles," taking Buck Mountain Episcopal Church to task for enforcing its long-time rule against the placement of artificial flowers on graves in its cemetery.

Some 20 years ago, the church trustees determined that artificial flowers were not appropriate. Until that time, there had been little use of such decorations, so there had been no need to deny their use. Only real flowers– those that God makes– are used in the church itself. Since the cemetery is consecrated ground, the trustees decided that likewise only real flowers should be used on graves.

In May 1987, the then-senior warden sent a letter to all the area's funeral directors setting forth the rules and asked that they be communicated to the families.

Em Collier– on whose behalf the article was written– claims that she never heard about the artificial flower ban until this year. However, her mother was buried in the cemetery in 1995, so either she was not informed by the funeral director or she ignored what she was told.

Having been made aware of the rule, Collier has chosen to violate it, and in this appears to be supported by your reporter, Lisa Provence, whose article appears intended to injure our church.

If she meant to cause trouble for the church, she has certainly succeeded. Since publication, the Rector has been subjected to a number of anonymous and abusive calls.

Collier complains that she cannot afford live flowers and, since she is not allowed to use artificial flowers, she cannot put flowers on her parents' graves.

A packet of flower seeds sown in the spring at her home will yield flowers through the summer and fall. A small plant costs only a few dollars and will provide greenery from spring until frost if cared for. Even better, a prayer said at her parents' graves costs nothing but her time and attention.

Her late mother, as a member of Buck Mountain Church, surely would not approve her daughter's efforts to besmirch the reputation of the church over this insignificant matter.

None of us likes all the laws and rules to which we are subject through the valid exercise of authority. We either choose to obey them or suffer the consequences. In this case, if Collier chooses to continue to place artificial flowers, they will be removed and disposed of. We trust that she will make a wise choice.

We also trust that, in the future, your editorial policy will more closely consider whether the publication of such articles is in the best interest of peace and harmony within the community.

Members of the Vestry of Buck Mountain Episcopal Church
Albemarle County