Memorial garden to be moved after Christ Lutheran Church closes its doors

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CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A man who lost his wife says he’s suffering again because the memorial where she was laid to rest has to move.

The Christ Lutheran Church closed after going into foreclosure. Now people who placed their loved ones’ ashes at the church want to know what’s going to happen to a memorial garden on the property.

The pastor tells WINK News they are going to dig up the entire plot, place the dirt into urns and temporarily hold the dirt and ashes until a permanent home can be reached.

But for some people who have loved ones buried there, it’s an emotional and painful process.

“I have flowers there and I touch the flowers,” said James Dewane.

Dewane scattered his wife’s ashes in the Christ Lutheran Church memorial garden after she passed away seven years ago.

“We were married 26 years.”

Ever since then, he comes here twice a week.

“I pray and talk to her like if she was kind of still alive.”

But now, that’s going to change. The church was foreclosed on earlier this year. With the property up for sale, the garden will be moved to a temporary memorial at another Lutheran church in the area.

Dewane says having to dig up the garden and move the memorial stone is opening up old wounds.

“I’m going to come here one day and there going to be ripping all this up and hauling it away.”

“Christ Lutheran is the first church of Cape Coral,” said Pastor William Bogholtz. He says there were no other options.

Bogholtz recognizes how emotional this move will be and says the church is doing everything it can to ensure a peaceful transition to the temporary site.

“We’ll have large urns of the soil there, so that the cremains are with the stone and preserved,” said Bogholtz.

Once the church has a permanent home, a new memorial garden will be built.

“I just want things to stay the way they were,” said Dewane.

The pastor says they hope to have the garden moved by Memorial Day weekend. The church will keep the congregation up-to-date with the process.

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