By Kathy Chouteau
The Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Richmond and Vicinity (BMCORV) commemorated the new Garden of Grace and Freedom at Rolling Hills Memorial Park with a ribbon cutting Sat., Sept. 10.
The gathering marked the culmination of a collaborative effort between the BMCORV and Rolling Hills to establish the new garden, an area of the memorial park where African American and other families can “build a family legacy” by pre-planning their ultimate place of rest, according to Bishop Andre Jackson.
The event aimed to be “a catalyst for families to start coming together and [making] pre-planning part of the family discussions, just as we discuss our kids going to college, the next family vacation and setting up our wills and trusts,” Bishop Jackson wrote in The Richmond Post.
Rolling Hills consulted with the BMCORV on the planning of the garden and then set about completing work on it in 2019, per the bishop. The garden was completed that same year, with the memorial park building it and the BMCORV “helping all the way through” by contributing to its naming and by raising a monument with a male angel and two children, he said.
The advent of COVID-19 put the garden’s commemoration and ribbon cutting event on a pandemic pause until a few weeks ago.
Various pastors, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, Richmond City Councilmember Nat Bates and Corky Boozé all spoke during the event. President of the BMCORV and Pastor Ulis Redic of Richmond’s Mount Zion Baptist Church cut the ribbon and also received the presentation of a $1,000 donation to BMCORV from Rolling Hills, per Bishop Jackson in his article.
Community members can contact Bishop Jackson, also a senior advance planner, at (510) 734-6291 for assistance re: a pre-planning consultation. Discounts are available in September to mark the garden’s commemoration, he said.