CUMC plans columbarium service

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Christ United Methodist Church will soon be celebrating the completion of a project that will give members a place to honor their loved ones and reflect on their memories.

On July 23, a consecration ceremony will be held for the church’s new columbarium and prayer garden.

The project came to fruition thanks to the efforts of the church’s columbarium committee, as well as other members who donated their time, money and efforts to see it through, said Marianne Veazey, a committee member.

“Our church came forth and did it,” she said.

The project took several years to get off the ground, and required the approval of church leadership.

“The more we studied it, the more realized we needed it. In 2012, 42 percent of burials were by cremation. The number has (grown) since then,” Veazey said.

According to a 2016 article from Time Magazine, “cremation surpassed traditional burial rates for the first time in the U.S.” in 2015, with 49 percent of those polled choosing the option over traditional burials.

“It’s a convenience thing for church members. Christians have been burying their deceased in and around the church (for years), so really we’re going back to those roots,” Veazey said.

The columbarium and garden can be accessed via the church’s south entrance off of Old Canton Road.

It was designed by Eickhof Columbaria, out of Minnesota, and was delivered to Christ United in March.

The prayer garden was designed by Carter Brown, a landscape architect and member of the congregation.

Spots are also available to install two more columbaria units as needed, she said.

Christ United has approximately 4,000 members.

The first unit includes 80 niches, each of which can each store two urns. The niches themselves have granite facings, where the names of loved ones will be etched, she said.

About a third of the niches have already been purchased. Funds from the initial purchases helped pay for the project’s completion, and proceeds from future sales will be used to maintain the structure.

Committee members include Marianne and Ron Veazey, Betty and Dick Mason, Stan Pratt, Bob Flowers, Jim Martin, Bob McGuire, Louise Hartlein and Louis Slater.

“The committee has always had two goals in mind: to give church members and their families a choice for burial at a consecrated place on the church grounds, and to provide a beautiful garden for reflection and prayer,” Veazey added. “This columbarium and garden achieve both of those.”

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