Suffolk church asks for help repairing historic cemetery

Posted at 5:17 PM, Mar 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 17:45:31-05

Suffolk, Va - A local church's century old cemetery is in disrepair. Church members say constant erosion caused many graves to sink. If they don't fix the problem, much of its history could be washed away.

The Macedonia Baptist Church cemetery opened over a century ago. But soon, these solemn graves may be gone including the place where Kelly Pittman buried her loved ones.

“It makes me sad because my family is buried here and what if that was my mom`s grave. We can`t really do anything about because we don`t have any money,” Pittman explained.

She's a church member trying to raise $20,000 to save the cemetery. Church goer Gladys Mills says a drainage problem is making parts of the land disappear.

“What we have here is years of erosion underground that has led to the condition of the graves that we see, where they have sunken,’ Mills explained.

A recently discovered broken pipe isn't draining water to their ravine properly. Instead the water flowed directly into the ground causing the cemetery mess

“We need to stabilize our ravine in order to keep the graves from going down, going under,” Mill said.

Mills says that this section of the cemetery was completely flat, but over the years has sloped down. It wasn`t until about a year and a half ago when they noticed the grave was completely sunken below the surface that they realized there was a problem. Now, the small congregation is asking for the community's support.

“When we get sufficient funds, we`ll start our excavation project.”

Mills says they haven`t lost any of the graves. But for Kelly Pittman there isn't much time left to save the place where her family lays.

“You want them to rest peacefully and unbothered but they're bothered,” Pittman explained.

The city replaced the pipe running through the cemetery and stabilized part of the ravine.

The church has set up a GoFundMe account to finish the repairs.