14 Feb Chip Banke


Chip Banke

While grieving the death of his father, Chip Banke found comfort in the care of community through natural burial.

When Grace Church purchased property in 2021 to develop a natural burial site, it quickly became a special place to help shepherd members facing seasons of grief. An inexpensive alternative to vaults and coffins, natural burial typically involves a shroud or a pine box, and allows the church to play an active role in the death process for those in our care.

Donald Banke, father of Spartanburg member Chip Banke, passed away in September 2021. By connecting to the natural burial team, Chip and his family were able to receive the help they needed to navigate the complications that come with funeral planning. His father Donald was buried in a simple, intimate graveside ceremony, surrounded by the natural serenity of the grounds in Piedmont. Chip’s former community group gathered in support, helping him lower his dad into the ground and fill the grave.

“Grace Church staff were incredibly caring, honoring, respectful, and nurturing in the burial experience with Dad,” Chip says. “I truly felt loved while grieving.”

“Seeing and experiencing natural burial and how it brought the Banke family together with our church body is something that I will never forget,” says Spartanburg campus pastor Daniel Black. “Instead of keeping the grieving family at a distance, it allowed for men that Chip has led in community groups to have an opportunity to serve alongside him in the unique season of burying his father. This shared experience absolutely helps our church better care for our members through loss.”

For more information about natural burial, visit gracechurchsc.org/naturalburial/