I received a question from a pastor today about scattering ashes. Here’s some info:

I know of no laws in Texas regarding the scattering of ashes. There are no “scattering ashes police” in any state to ensure proper etiquette, permits, or permission are obtained and used. There are no health, safety or environmental issues to be concerned about.

If it’s at your church you might want to draw up a policy and have the Congregation Council and approve it, so everyone’s on the same page. If you’re in city limits, check to see if there are any city ordinances with respect to spreading ashes.

Texas law requires a 48 hour waiting period after death before cremation.

Some people find cremation and the scattering of ashes to be lacking respect. Some consider it a denial of the resurrection. I don’t. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. There are no church rubrics in the ELCA prohibiting cremation or the scattering of ashes.

Work it out though. If scattering in a church garden, make decisions on who gets scattered where. Anyone? Anywhere? Decide, to avoid misunderstandings with grieving families.