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St. Pauli Cemetery: Operating Guidelines

Approved: May 2022

Operating Guidelines (pdf)

These operating guidelines extend and enhance the Bylaws of the St. Pauli Cemetery Association (SPCA), a charitable corporation qualified for exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

The St. Pauli Cemetery Association's Board of Directors (BOD) are charged with the legal management of the St. Pauli Cemetery, a privately held cemetery located in Rocksbury Township, Thief River Falls, Minnesota 56701 and deeded to St. Pauli Lutheran Church located at 11015 170th Avenue Northeast, Thief River Falls, Minnesota 56701.

St. Pauli Cemetery Association

Board of Directors

The legal management and control of SPCA business is vested in its Board of Directors (BOD). There will be five individuals elected by the BOD and each shall hold one of these offices: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Member-at-Large. Nothing in these Guidelines precludes the Sexton from becoming a Director if s/he holds no office but is instead a Member-at-Large.

Three Directors shall be active members on the membership role of the St. Pauli Lutheran Church, though nothing shall prohibit all five Directors from being members of the St. Pauli Lutheran Church.

No more than two members of an immediate family may serve as a Director at any one time.


The word "sexton" derives from the Medieval Latin word sacristanus and its Old French segrestein, meaning the "custodian of sacred objects."

The St. Pauli Cemetery Sexton is appointed by the BOD to serve without term or term limits. The Sexton shall be invited to all regular and special meetings of the BOD, but his/her presence shall not be counted for purposes of gaining a quorum of votes nor shall the Sexton be vested with the legal management and control of SPCA business. The Sexton shall have no vote with the BOD unless s/he is also holding a term as Director.

The Sexton's roles and responsibilities include:

  1. ensuring that cemetery maintenance is properly undertaken and timely conducted with such maintenance including mowing, watering, replenishing the water tower, etc.
  2. accepting reservations for burial plots and determining the ultimate placement of such plots;
  3. accepting requests for the planting or removal of trees and shrubs from the cemetery;
  4. seeing that any fees are collected, and monies given to the SPCA Treasurer for deposit;
  5. informing the BOD of any issues, concerns, or repairs with the cemetery grounds or monuments;
  6. accountability for accurately maintaining the cemetery plot map


The BOD shall hold quarterly meetings and shall notify the St. Pauli congregation members of their time and place. These meetings are also open to members of the St. Pauli Lutheran Church and other interested parties.

The BOD shall hold an annual meeting to immediately follow the annual meeting of the St. Pauli Congregation and in the same place. This annual meeting shall be open to members of the St. Pauli Lutheran Church and other interested parties. During this annual meeting the BOD, its Officers, the Sexton, and any other appointed committees shall report on:

  1. activities and events of the past year and proposals for future activities and events;
  2. state of the cemetery: grounds, monuments, and access road;
  3. income and expenses of the past year and proposals for the next year’s income and expenses, in particular any proposals for expenditures of $2,000 or more which must be discussed and ratified by the members of the St. Pauli Lutheran Church and interested parties in attendance at the meeting;
  4. other business for which the BOD desires the advice and counsel of those present.

St. Pauli Cemetery


Persons who are listed on the official membership roll of the St. Pauli Lutheran Church may reserve one free burial plot or be granted one free plot at the time of their death. Other persons may purchase and reserve a burial plot for $480, contingent upon the approval of the BOD.

Persons without reserved burial plots and who are not members of the St. Pauli Lutheran Church at the time of their death shall be charged $480 for a single plot. This money may be collected by the funeral home or by the Sexton and shall be delivered to the BOD Treasurer for deposit.

Transfer of Plot Ownership

No cemetery plots may be sold or otherwise disposed of, except by will or operation of law, without the approval of the Board of Directors. The BOD has the first option to repurchase a cemetery plot at fifty percent (50%) of the current plot price. The BOD may use any of its funds for such repurchase and may hold such plot, or again sell and convey the same.

Interments and Disinterments

  1. Burial plots may not be subdivided, except that in the case of cremation. Burial plots shall contain no more than:
    1. One (1) casket OR
    2. One (1) casket and one (1) burial urn of cremains OR
    3. Two (2) burial urns of cremains.
  2. It shall be the responsibility of the plot owners and/or funeral director handling the said funeral to make all necessary arrangements for excavations.
  3. All internments must be made in accordance with all laws, ordinances, rules and regulations of the St. Pauli cemetery, the state of Minnesota, or any other regulatory agency.
  4. All burials shall require an outer burial container. Wood shall not be permitted, but material such as concrete and fiberglass shall be acceptable.
  5. Written permission of the plot owner and the next of kin shall be required for disinterment. That permission shall be filed with the Board of Directors. All laws or regulations of the state of Minnesota or any other agency having jurisdiction over disinterment must be complied with prior to any disinterment within St. Pauli Cemetery.

Plot Use, Improvements, and Restrictions

  1. No person shall erect fences or hedges on or around any plot.
  2. No person shall plant trees or shrubs on the burial plots or within the cemetery boundaries without the written permission of the Board of Directors.
  3. The BOD reserves the right to remove or alter any tree, shrub, vine, or memorabilia which may become unsightly or dangerous, is not in keeping with the landscaping of the cemetery, or which makes mowing difficult.

Monuments and Grave Markers

  1. Monuments or markers constructed of any material other than stone or bronze will not be allowed. No monuments or markers may be constructed of limestone, sandstone, or any artificial material that will not assure relative permanency.
  2. All structures, to ensure sufficient support, must have foundations built on solid masonry, of a depth and size deemed proper by the BOD. Foundations must be set level with the ground and be cut to go into the ground not less than four inches or more than eight inches. An apron of at least six inches in width shall be placed around said marker or monument, which shall be made of concrete or granite, which apron shall be level with the surface of the ground, and which shall be affixed to the marker to prevent grass, weeds, or other vegetation from growing between the marker and apron.
  3. Monument companies erecting monuments in the cemetery shall follow the rules and regulations of the St. Pauli Cemetery Association.
  4. No monument or marker may be placed unless the Board of Directors has approved its location and the full purchase price of the plot has been paid.
  5. The plot owner is responsible for all damage resulting to the cemetery or other plots during the placement of monuments or markers and during excavation of the burial plot.
  6. Above-ground vaults and mausoleums are not permitted in St. Pauli Cemetery except by special permit granted by the Board of Directors.

Plant Urns and Containers

  1. Neither the Board of Directors nor the Sexton is responsible for the watering and maintenance of plants in urns or containers.
  2. If these plants become unsightly or unmaintained for a period of 30 days or more, the Sexton shall dispose of them in a matter determined by the Board of Directors.
  3. The St. Pauli Cemetery Association will not be liable for any vases, urns or other containers that may be misplaced, broken, or stolen.
  4. While the use of shepherd hooks or elevated plant stands is allowed, the Board of Directors reserves the right to remove such hooks or stands if they become unsightly or dangerous or interfere with the mowing and maintenance of the cemetery.

General Rules and Conduct

  1. Motor vehicles may be driven within the cemetery subject to these conditions:
    1. The speed shall not exceed 5 miles per hour.
    2. The vehicle shall only be driven or parked on marked driveways and designated areas.
    3. No ATV's or snowmobiles shall be permitted in the cemetery.
  2. No person shall have in his or her possession a firearm or explosive, excepting an on-duty police officer and members of military organizations (i.e., National Guard, American Legion Honor Guard) at funerals and civic functions.
  3. No person may disturb the quiet of the cemetery by noise or improper conduct of any kind.
  4. Children under the age of 15 years must be under the direct supervision of an adult while in the cemetery.
  5. No person may allow any animal to run at large in the cemetery.

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