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Ask SAM: I saw a grave in the Moravian graveyard that said vacant. Does that happen often?
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Ask SAM: I saw a grave in the Moravian graveyard that said vacant. Does that happen often?

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Moravian Easter Sunrise Service

A man watches the Moravian Sunrise Service on his smartphone from Salem Congregation's God's Acre cemetery, Sunday, April 12, 2020. Because of state orders restricting gatherings of more than 10 people, the Salem Congregation of the Moravian Church asked the public to stay home and watch the 248th Easter Sunrise Service by internet livestream or television broadcast. While hundreds normally attend the service, there were only 12 in the cemetery at sunrise on Sunday. 

Q: Some gravestones in the Moravian Graveyard in Old Salem say something along the way of “Remains removed.” No name, that’s it. How common a thing is that? What’s the reasoning behind it? Did they simply move the loved one’s remains somewhere else?

— L.R.

Answer: It doesn’t happen very often. In the 250 years that the graveyard has been in use, it has happened just a few times.

“There are only five graves out of almost 7,600 graves in the Salem Congregation Moravian Graveyard that have been vacated,” said David Bergstone, the superintendent of the graveyard and facilities manager for the Salem Congregation.

“It is only done on request of the spouse or nearest kin to move to another graveyard following our own guidelines and state laws. Exact details about the process are given in the Rules and Regulations posted on our website,” he said.

The rules say that in order to disinter remains from the graveyard, permission must be given by the Central Board of Trustees or its executive committee. The Central Board of Trustees is one of two the governing boards of the Salem Congregation. The other board is the Central Board of Elders.

The person requesting disinterment must provide permission from the surviving spouse or next of kin of the person.

All applicable laws of Forsyth County and the State of North Carolina concerning disinterment must be followed.

The grave must be restored to its original condition. A proper size gravestone with the word “Vacant” will be placed on the grave showing that the remains have been removed.

Because burials are in chronological order, the grave is not reused.

Because burial is within the choir system, no location changes within the graveyard are allowed.

Thank you

P.L.M. wanted to thank a couple of people for their kindnesses. “A special thank you to the young woman who paid for my groceries on Oct. 5 at the Walmart on Kester Mill Road. I let her go ahead of me, she just had two items. She kept standing there and started putting my groceries in my buggy. She said put your money up. I’m buying them. I thanked her and told her she had made my day.”

P.L.M. also wanted to thank Veronica, who paid for breakfast for P.L.M. and friends on Oct. 7 at Zoe’s on Trenwest. “We have talked with her several times when she came in to pick up her to-go orders. I shall pay it forward,” P.L.M. said.

Thanksgiving restaurants

Thanksgiving is coming, and we’re starting to get questions from readers about what restaurants will be open on the holiday. Owners and managers of restaurants that will be open Thanksgiving Day can let us know at asksam@wsjournal.com. Include address, hours of operation, whether special menu items will be available or if customers can order off the regular menu. Also, let us know if reservations are required or encouraged. The list will be published as we hear from restaurants.

Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

Online: journalnow.com/asksam

Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101

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