Columbarium Q & A
What is a columbarium?
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns (i.e. urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains). The term comes from the Latin columba (dove) and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons called a dovecote.
Where are they found on a church campus?
Columbaria can be located in any number of places on church grounds: in an interior space of the sanctuary, in a wall of an existing building or, in our case, along the exterior wall of a building.
Isn’t the installation of a columbarium rare these days?
No. As the number of cremations rises, more and more churches are installing columbaria. In 1970 there were only 88,096 cremations in the United States, while in 1999 there were 606,307 cremations. It is projected that, by 2015, 1.2 million cremations will take place, accounting for nearly 50% of all funeral arrangements. In Oxford, only 500 burial plots remain at Memorial Cemetery and a columbarium will soon be installed there. Other downtown churches will offer columbaria in the near future as well, along with the University of Mississippi.
What are the benefits of a columbarium at First Presbyterian Church?
There are at least three primary benefits:
Spiritual Site for Final Repose - It affords church members and their families the opportunity to have their final resting place within the shadow of the church, which has been a central part of their lives. It is a sacred site of beauty and dignity where their loved ones can visit and meditate any time;
Simplicity of Planning - It eliminates the pressures of choosing a burial site, casket, vault and monument. Also, there is no need to plan for interment and memorial services at different locations;
Faithful Stewardship - The costs of cremation and a niche in the columbarium are significantly less than the combined costs of a casket, burial site and marker.
What does ours look like?
The initial, 7,200-pound, 60-inch high x 47-inch wide x 18-inch deep columbarium is centered immediately adjacent to the west exterior wall of the sanctuary. It faces the side courtyard, which serves as a natural gathering space for committal services. Created by Interglo Stone Company via Batesville Marble Works, it is made of a brick-colored granite and consist of 36 niches. Each niche faceplate can have up to two names engraved upon it. If and when all 36 spaces are sold, the columbarium will be expanded along the west wall. Existing shrubbery will be relocated.
I want my final resting place to be at FPC. How can I buy a space in the columbarium?
Details for purchasing a niche, including costs and policies, are available from the church office. An electronic copy of the policy governing the columbarium can be downloaded and printed using the hot link below.