Our church council has recently approved a new element of ministry for Grace: a columbarium. Although the idea of a columbarium is new at our church, its origins are deep in the history of Christian beliefs. From the earliest of time, Christians have buried their dead in crypts, church yards and inside their churches. A columbarium is a beautiful storage for the cremated remains of our loved ones. The word “columbarium” is derived from ” columba”, the Latin word for dovecote, a compartmented house where doves, the symbol of God’s spirit and peace, come to roost. In modern terms, a columbarium is a consecrated structure used for the inturnment of a deceased’s ashes after cremation.
The columbarium project has been under study by a subcommittee of the Church Council for about 2 years to determine an appropriate location on the property, consider all design elements, evaluate companies, write policies to govern the use of the niches including the costs and management procedures. The Armento Liturgical Arts Company of Buffalo, NY was chosen to provide our unit. Armento has decades of experience in providing modular units with covers of cast bronze for columbaria all over America. The bronze face plates will have a Wheat pattern.The Wheat is used to symbolize the bounty of the earth and also the bread of Holy Communion. It shows the human nature of Christ. This interpretation is based on John 12:24, ” Verily, Verily, I say to you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die. It abideth alone;but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
The Columbarium will be located in the Tower Room—as you enter the narthex to the Sanctuary, the Tower Room is on the left. The Tower Room is a perfect location because it is near our altar, and the niches will surround the stained-glass window on the left wall. The room will be set-up as a place of reflection, meditation, and reverence. Each niche will have a plaque with the engraved name of the deceased. Directly below the window will be a shelf with two candles that may be used for a service as needed.
Funding of the Columbarium is solely based on the sale of the niches. To cover the cost of the first construction phase of 52 niches we will need to sell 44 niches. The niches will surround each side of the stain-glassed windows and the area below the window. The wall area will have the capacity to house 132 niches which may be added as the need arises.
Cost of each niche is $1,500.00; $600.00 of that amount is tax deductible and will be considered a charitable contribution to the Columbarium Endowment Fund.. If you are interested, contact the church office (Trina at [email protected]) for a packet that explains in detail all of the information you will need. The architect drawing and information about the columbarium is in the Tower Room for review.
If you have questions please contact Ronda Lantz, Jeannette Wolfarth, Dave McIntosh, or Troy Frail.