Memorial Garden Interment

Interment in the Memorial Garden is open to all Unitarian Universalists.  An UUCP Interment form must be filled out and submitted with a suggested minimum donation of $1000, which is used for maintenance and improvements of the Garden.  The ashes may be scattered or buried in a selected location.  Although records are kept of the site chosen, no markers or containers are permitted.  The names of those interred in the Garden may be placed on a plaque near the sculpture for a $150 processing fee.  Please see the “Memorial service brochure” brochure for more information.

The Memorial Garden Endowment Fund

UUCP receives the annual interest from the Memorial Garden Endowment Fund, which goes directly to the upkeep and maintenance of the Garden, statues, benches and irrigation system.  Donations may be made to the Memorial Garden Endowment Fund in honor or in memory of a loved one, and may be made at any time.  The Fund is managed by the UU Foundation of Phoenix.  Please make checks out to “UUCP” and include “Memorial Garden Trust Fund” in the memo line.  You can mail the checks to the congregation address below.

UUCP Trail Guide

The Green Sanctuary Committee published a trail guide for the garden.  Copies of it are available in the main lobby next to the brochure rack or available for download.

“That Which Might Have Been” Statuary by UUCP Member John Waddell

“From a world torn asunder by artificial and meaningless barriers – where differences create misunderstanding and fear – we look to a future of harmony and peace, where difference quickens interest, reveals beauty and creates a desire to understand.  To the achievement of such a world we dedicate this art, memorializing the lives of four innocents.”
-John Henry Waddell, Artist
On September 15, 1963, a bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama shocked the nation.  It took the lives of four young girls – Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins.
On that same Sunday, the young Reverend Raymond Manker was preaching his second service as the new minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Phoenix.
Soon thereafter, Rev. Manker dedicated a service to the Civil Rights movement then sweeping the country.  The service included artwork.  One piece depicted a poor African-American women in ragged clothes in a slum area of Chicago.  Text in the bubble over her head read, “You don’t care about the poor, do you?”
The artist, John Henry Waddell, was white, but the emotional reaction of the congregation to the image was both strong and immediate.  It led to the creation of the memorial garden sculpture, “That Which Might Have Been, Birmingham, 1963.”  The work is a memorial to the four girls who died and to the future they were denied.  Rev. Manker said that Waddell felt “this was the piece he’d been born to create.”

Artist’s Statement

The statuary stand as a prayer of atonement, symbolizing the unfulfilled maturity of the four girls killed in Birmingham.  They imply nobility, perseverance and hope.  The negative space in the center implies the vase of a vortex reaching heavenward, suggesting the need and desire for a supernatural aid.  The entire setting is meant as an earnest hope for understanding among all humankind.

Eastward Facing Figure

This is the most maternal of the group and implies the maturity of fulfilled womanhood and motherhood.  The upraised swaddling cloth is symbolic that progeny will never be born.

Southward Facing Figure

This figure is turning, either away or toward, and expresses the dilemma of minorities.  They hope for acceptance but are ready to turn away in desperation, if necessary.

Westward Facing Figure

This figure placidly contemplates death and the acceptance of all that is and will come.  Acceptance is symbolized by the shell-like quality of her gesture.

Northward Facing Figure

This figure is the most youthful and reflects hope and optimism in the face of adversity.  On her upraised hand is written the word “prayer.”

PBS Documentary “Rising: The Art and Life of John Waddell”

“Rising: The Art and Life of John Waddell” is the inspiring story of an artist who resisted modern trends to stay true to the human form, the painful losses that decision cost him and the immeasurable treasures many have gained. Told by 15 models including the filmmaker, in rarely filmed nude modeling sessions, the film chronicles the moving story of a determined, prolific American sculptor. Working on the periphery of the contemporary art world for 50 years, he shunned commercial success, enduring enormous personal setbacks and thriving without the help of critics. The film chronicles Waddell’s unique process first evident in That Which Might Have Been, his seminal work honoring 4 girls killed in the Birmingham, Alabama Church Bombing of 1963, through his 2008 completion of the 28-figure relief Rising, inspired by 9/11. Visit .

“Soul” by Harry Wood

UUCP retains the copyrights to Harry Wood’s 1970 book, “Soul: An Interpetation of a Sculpture by John Henry Waddell.”  Limited quantities of the book are available for purchase at our Book Table on Sundays or in the office during the week.

Posters and Postcards

There are limited quantities of posters and vintage postcards depicting the statuary.  The posters also include a historical commentary. Both are available for a donation from the office.