April 12th, 2013
12:01 PM ET

Want your ashes spread where Jesus walked?

By Sara Sidner, CNN

Sea of Galilee (CNN) - When I am visiting the United States and tell people I live in the Middle East I generally get one of two responses:

“Seriously? Isn’t it dangerous? Stay safe out there.”

Or some version of:

“Wow. There is so much Biblical history there. I have always dreamed about going to the Holy Land but doubt I’ll ever get the chance.”

I never thought I’d be able to give the latter this option for a visit.

A new business called Holy Land Ash Scattering is targeting U.S. Christians as customers.

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Company president Larry Deverett says he has found the perfect spot for people of the Christian faith to have their own or their loved ones cremated remains scattered.

The spot is located in a small garden in an orchard on a hill above the Sea of Galilee, the area where the New Testament says Jesus prayed, taught and performed many miracles including walking on water.

“I researched the market and found that there is a strong need and demand for this type of service and the No. 1 location on the planet, when you are talking about spirituality, is the Holy Land,” Deverett said.

Deverett knows there will always be potential clients. The funeral industry will always have a source of clients since we all have to go sometime, and many of us will likely have a funeral of some sort.

U.S. Funeral Directors Association statistics show the rate of cremation has doubled in the past 15 years. The association says in 2011 about 42% of people who died were cremated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show about 2.5 million people die each year in the United States.

Most folks in the funeral industry are well aware that with the baby boomer generation headed into its “golden years“ there will likely be a ballooning number of funerals on the horizon.

One reason for an upswing in cremations may be economics. Simply put, cremation is cheaper than a burial.

As Deverett found out, there are also business opportunities to be had with remains that are already cremated.

"There are literally tens if not hundreds of thousands of urns sitting in people's homes, and people really don't know what to do with those ashes. You know at some point in time whether they are moving or after a few years they want to do something proper with the ashes," he said.

For $750 after cremation, you can have your ashes shipped and scattered near the “Jesus Trail,” where a bearded man resembling a person right out of the Bible performs a ceremony. It is all put on a DVD and sent to the family.

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The company is looking into trying to do a live feed over the Internet so you can watch it in real time.

“It’s a great privilege to be able to do this act of loving kindness for our Christian brothers and sisters, ” said Benzion Lehrer, who says the prayer and scatters the ashes.

Deverett is hoping to draw business from far and wide.

But the President of Holy Land Ash Scattering can’t use the service for himself or his family. He is Jewish and adheres to the traditional belief that his faith forbids cremation.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Israel • Judaism

soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. Vic

    It is a nice sentiment but I am more content that when I am absent from the body, I am present with the Lord!!!

    2 Corinthians 5:6-8

    "6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. "

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    April 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Science

      sciencedaily.com works better ! Vic

      April 14, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Captain obvious

      Science is for when you are alive...religion is for after you are dead.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      religion is for when you are alve. it makes you feel bettr (read: DENY) about your moratality

      April 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  2. So now you complain?

    The averge funeral cost is about six thousand dollars and this seems out of wack? This is only the tip of the iceburg. Anytime you spend money on a dead body it's a waste but tell that to Baldwin Fairchild.

    April 14, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  3. Cielo


    April 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Science

      Fabts work !.

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN


      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”


      Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
      Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \



      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
      By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...


      April 7th, 2012

      08:32 PM ET

      The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth


      A wedge !

      April 14, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  4. jamaal johnson

    Whatever your beliefs are, if you are even considering this, you might want to re-evaluate your beliefs. This stuff gets into hocus pocus mikey mouse santa clause territory.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    April 13, 2013 at 5:47 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      April 15, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      April 15, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  6. mique

    Religion bothers me. I am sure someone will make a lot of money spreading ashes this way as the faithful try ever harder to get that special seat next to their god, as if the god cares where your ashes are. If he did, he wold not have made wind.

    April 13, 2013 at 5:29 am |
  7. lol??

    Barnum, from wiki, "Barnum served two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as a Republican for Fairfield. With the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Consti*tution over slavery and African-American suffrage, Barnum spoke before the legislature and said, "A human soul, ‘that God has created and Christ died for,’ is not to be trifled with. It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab or a Hottentot – it is still an immortal spirit."

    April 13, 2013 at 4:53 am |
    • clarity

      Self-serving BS, of course, from a man who didn't realize his club's insignificance amongst the millions of other people living on the planet at the time.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  8. Bill

    For a little bit more, North Korea will be glad to blast your ashes into the heavens which is even closer to God

    April 13, 2013 at 4:45 am |
  9. Humanist11

    Christians will do it gladly. They will believe anything.

    April 13, 2013 at 4:43 am |
  10. JC

    "he No. 1 location on the planet, when you are talking about spirituality, is the Holy Land,” Yeah right. Spoken like a true Jew, out to make a dollar from the Christians (whoever they are). These Jews will even make money off Hitler if they could.

    April 13, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • ugh

      hell yeah, a baby fora buck is the going kosher rate...

      April 13, 2013 at 4:35 am |
  11. Riley the Dog

    Sounds as legit as companies that sell naming-rights to stars.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:44 am |
  12. Earthling147


    April 13, 2013 at 12:47 am |
  13. Angel Moronic

    You won't get to heaven this way ... the camel already got there first

    April 13, 2013 at 12:33 am |
  14. Put Jesus Back On The Cross

    I can't believe I am reading this on CNN. Maybe the Onion, but CNN? Another scam in the name of religion.

    April 13, 2013 at 12:31 am |
  15. Peteyroo

    What utter nonsense! It would be far more interesting to simply ship the body over there then dump it alongside the trail. Better yet, the body should be crucified on the same spot where Jesus was crucified then dumped alongside the trail. After three days they could gather the bodies and dump them into the cave where Jesus waited for his cue to come out.

    April 13, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • Put Jesus Back On The Cross

      Some good ideas you have here, but better yet, right before someone is going to die, put them on the cross, with nails. Then, when they are dead, dump them in the cave. If anyone comes out in 3 days, then jesus is back.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:34 am |
  16. acushle

    You are telling that dude can come back to life but can't handle a couple nails to his body ? Its time people come out of this ridiculousness.

    April 13, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Golden Calf

      Let's see you get whipped, walk with a tree on your back uphill, and have people drive nails through your hands and feet. Will your god Lance Armstrong or the guy in the wheelchair save you?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  17. Reality

    Time for some old fashion OT thu-mping, "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return!! " Gen. 3: 19 🙂 🙂

    April 12, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
  18. Bob1god

    No wonder there was all that foot washing in the wholly Babble.

    April 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  19. erivera63

    how is this an act of kindness?..Sounds more like a way to fleece money from people in their time of grief.

    April 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  20. Tom

    A sucker born every minute.... eventually works out to a sucker dying every minute

    April 12, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.