Madison County

Church’s cleaning up Madison County cemetery ‘definitely a God thing’

Cemetery A near the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County was overgrown before volunteers from First Baptist Church in Richmond started cleaning up on Saturday.
Cemetery A near the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County was overgrown before volunteers from First Baptist Church in Richmond started cleaning up on Saturday. gkocher1@herald-leader.com

A last-minute cancellation freed up manpower so First Baptist Church in Richmond could spend Saturday cleaning up the rediscovered Cemetery A in Madison County, which holds 900 bodies dating to the late 1700s.

Organizer Kim Kincer said she sees God’s hand in the good work.

The cleanup was done as part of the church’s Project InAsMuch. The name is a reference to Matthew 25:40 : “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Churches all over the country participate in such projects, Kincer said. Last year, the Kentucky Baptist Convention pushed more congregations in the commonwealth to take action, so the Richmond church jumped in.

First Baptist had 150 volunteers lined up to work on 35 projects on Saturday. On Thursday, two yard projects fell through. Then, First Baptist Church member Ron Boyd saw a story about Cemetery A in the Herald-Leader.

“It was definitely a God thing,” Kincer said. “We had 15 to 20 people with nothing to do. This kind of fell in our lap.”

“It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Cemetery A, which covers about 5 acres, was found a few years ago by Stewart Davidson, who lives nearby off U.S. 421 near the Bluegrass Army Depot. Davidson has been trying to find a way to get the cemetery cleaned up. Last week, he contacted Herald-Leader reporter Greg Kocher.

Boyd said after reading about Cemetery A, he knew it was the perfect project to add to the Project InAsMuch list, which included feeding the homeless, entertaining community children with karaoke, and Boyd himself doing a free magic show.

However, Boyd said, cleaning up the cemetery offered a special opportunity. “It is a way to respect the lives of the people who are buried there,” he said.

“The cemetery project resonated with a lot of us,” Kincer said. “There is so much history in that cemetery that we’ve already found by cleaning it up. It’s a piece of Madison County.”

Kincer said she wasn’t sure the full 5 acres would be cleared Saturday. But, she said, the church is re-examining its mission work Sunday, and finding a way to completely spruce up and maintain Cemetery A is on the agenda.

What shape, exactly, would that take? “We haven’t figured that out yet,” Kincer said.

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