History

Circle Cemetery History

1974: Circle Sanctuary founded.

1978: Circle Sanctuary incorporated as non-profit religious organization in Wisconsin.

1979: Circle Sanctuary starts process to find and purchase rural land as its home, including an area to serve as a cemetery.

1980: Circle Sanctuary receives federal 501(c)(3) tax exempt church status.

1983: Circle Sanctuary purchases and moves to its home, a 200 acre Nature sanctuary near Barneveld, Wisconsin, which is named Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve.

1988: Circle Sanctuary receives church zoning for all 200 acres of its land.

1995: Circle Cemetery is established on a forested ridge at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve and becomes one of the first Green cemeteries in the USA. 

1996: Prairie restoration begins adjacent to Circle Cemetery.

2004: Circle Cemetery begins its process of expanding to 20 acres in size in order to permit human full body natural burials. 

2006: Circle Cemetery's Veterans Ridge begins with interment of cremains of US Army veteran Jerome Birnbaum.

2007:  Circle Cemetery and Arlington National Cemetery receive the first pentacle inscribed memorial markers issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Three markers are dedicated at Memorial Day at Circle Cemetery in a ceremony covered by public media.

2009: Rev. Gloria Villanueva becomes the first Circle Sanctuary minister buried at Circle Cemetery.

2010: Circle Cemetery becomes Wisconsin's first Green cemetery.  Expanded cemetery includes restored prairie, forested burying grounds, and outdoor ceremonial circle.

2011: Full body natural burials begin at Circle Cemetery’s burying grounds.

2013:  Circle Cemetery becomes the nation's first Green cemetery taking part in the Wreaths Across America program.

2015: Circle Cemetery celebrates its 20th Anniversary.