An excerpt from the book Southern Fried & Sanctified. Postage-free, signed copies available via the author website, click on title of the book to order and view the book’s photo gallery. All text and photographs copyrighted.

Several blocks away from the Congregational Church/cemetery is Archdale Street, home to the Unitarian Church and cemetery. Originally part of the Circular Congregational Church, a new church was formed in 1817 serving the same beliefs. The church was built in 1852 and has endured res, earthquakes and hurricanes with some slight changes for stability.

Unitarian cemetery church backdrop dreamy.jpg

Noted on the church’s website, the congregation works together without restraint or compulsion with an emphasis on freedom. They strive to help humankind and protect the Earth. All their teachings and all their hard work is evident inside a graveyard that resembles the Garden of Eden. In what appears to be overgrown walking paths, the churchyard committee, Edenkeepers, call it “organized chaos.”

Unitarian cemetery bright flowers horiz wm.jpg

Some stones lay in a bed of blooming vines, while others are caressed by purple irises, but all are carefully pruned to reveal their epitaphs. Some are bathed by sunlight, while others are consumed by shadows of weeping moss, but every blade and petal has a purpose. The eternal tenants are there to serve, a soil rich with death yields a bounty of beauty, and thus they too are stewards of the Edenkeepers.

Unitarian wildflowers headstones wm.jpg

Threatening skies bring claps of thunder jolting the serene confines of this most holy ground. The heavens break free in a city-wide christening, and then, the rain subsides delivering a most wonderful gift, a rainbow arched across the city.

rainbow city close wm.jpg