Certificates Provide Income for Cemetery After Church Closing

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Doles Cemetery in Macon, Ga. was established shortly after the founding of Doles UMC in 1830. After a long and proud history, Doles UMC was reconstituted as The Well UMC in 2013. After the Church closed in 2016, a group of concerned citizens formed the Doles Cemetery Trust Association for the purpose of providing perpetual care of the cemetery.

“Since we are no longer affiliated with a church, income is limited. Using funds which were generated by the faithful members of Doles UMC and The Well UMC, the Trust members decided to invest in Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s Certificate Program. Knowing that the Trust is investing in a high return, safe investment gives us assurance,” said Michael Barron, Trust Association Treasurer. “GUMF has helped in so many ways to provide financing for Doles and The Well. By investing in GUMF, we are also providing funds for other United Methodist churches to grow.”

Fellow Trust members Pam Cairens, Vi Cole, Mike Dobson, and Bill James all have loved ones buried at Doles Cemetery, which holds the final resting place for over 450 saints. Barron is the only Trust member who does not.

“My affiliation is purely that of love for my Savior and His church. We owe it to those who have gone on before us to keep the cemetery preserved and the property taken care of,” Barron said. “As you travel the state, you see many small private and church cemeteries that are overgrown and unkempt. Unfortunately there are no public funds available to maintain these cemeteries. When a church has to close its doors, it is up to those with loved ones buried there to supply the funds and their own sweat equity for the maintenance and upkeep.”

The Trust is also playing an important role in helping to preserve the cemetery’s rich history. “Doles, which is believed to have been the first Methodist church established in unincorporated Bibb County, was the center of religious activity for many years,” Barron said. “The Church was spared in the Civil War from Sherman's march because it was nine miles west of Macon. We have veterans laid to rest from the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.”