Moravian Burial Practices
The Moravian burial ground was not called a cemetery, but, informally "a graveyard" and, formally, "God's Acre." In "God's Acre" families are not buried
together in plots. Rather, each body is laid under a flat white stone, in the "next open grave". On this stone is inscribed the name of the deceased, along
with the date of birth, the date of death, and an appropriate verse of scripture, or other comment selected by the family. The matching stones, and method
of burial "in the next open grave", emphasizes the equality of all the dead in Christ.
It was (and is) possible for Moravian's to use the next open grave because a dividing walk runs through the graveyard. The men and boys are buried on one
side of the walk, and the women and girls on the other. There are sections for married men, for unmarried men and boys, for married women, and for single
women and girls. Thus, while no family is together in death, the body of one man's wife never ends up next to the husband of another woman! This same plan
of burial was followed in all of our congregation towns throughout the world, including the old town of Salem , N. C. and in the modern city of Winston-Salem .
Of course, in locations where it is not possible for a church to a graveyard, the churches encourage their members to care for their dead in more conventional
ways. Frequently members of our church buy family plots in commercial cemeteries, and many Moravians of today will opt for cremation.