The Columbarium

In the Episcopal Church…

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion view cremation as in no way conflicting with the resurrection of the body. The doctrine of resurrection never conceived that our earthly remains would literally be revived and resuscitated. Rather, St. Paul taught that in the day of general resurrection we will be clothed with a new spiritual body appropriate to our new spiritual state. 

Cremation is a completely appropriate and acceptable means for the disposition of remains. For many reasons, a growing number of Christians today are selecting cremation for aesthetic and practical, as well as religious, reasons. It is interesting to note that since the early part of this century, all burials in Westminster Abbey have been of cremated remains.

Christians from the earliest times have buried their dead in consecrated areas in close proximity to their place of worship. When First Century Christians fled to the catacombs, they set aside special areas called columbariums for burial. The word "columbarium" comes from the Latin name for the dwelling place of a dove (columba), and may have been used because of the resemblance between the burial niches and a dovecote. In addition, the dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, whose presence is especially associated with the resting place of the departed.
History of the Columbarium

European cathedrals contain crypts within the worship areas as well as church graveyards and memorial chapels adjacent to the churches. The churchyard cemetery is a familiar sight associated with colonial churches and rural areas across the United States.
A modem columbarium is a structure lined with recesses for urns containing cremated remains. Thus, landlocked city churches are able to offer a final resting place for the faithful departed. Cremation is a practical way of providing interment within the church building itself, as was common historically.

The Columbarium at St. Paul’s

With these considerations in mind, the Vestry of St. Paul's Church has established the St. Paul's Columbarium to provide a resting place for the ashes of loved ones.

St. Paul's Columbarium is the lower level of The Cloister, built in 1983-84 by the family of Loren M. Berry in his memory. The Columbarium, open during regular church hours, provides a tranquil spot for prayer and meditation as well as a place for burial and interment services. It is designed for easy access by stairway and elevator from the church, chapel, and garden.
The Columbarium contains 1,154 standard niches designed to accommodate two urns, 78 large niches to hold four urns, and one family niche for 12 urns. There are a total of 1,233 niches capable of receiving 2,632 interments. 
A plaque engraved with the names of those interred and the dates of their births and deaths is provided and placed on the marble face of the niche by the Church.

For more information on the St. Paul’s Columbarium, contact St. Paul’s by email or call 937-293-1154.

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