What is a columbarium?
A columbarium is a memorial wall which contains niches into which are placed (inurned) special containers to hold the cremated remains (cremains) of people. Each niche is faced with a granite plaque that bears the name, birth date, and death date of the person(s) whose cremains are in the niche. Each niche can hold two containers containing the cremains of two persons.
Why a columbarium at First Presbyterian Church?
In recent years various members have suggested adding a columbarium to our campus to provide a space where our prayers, our church and our loved ones may come together. Presbyterian church columbaria may be found in Mississippi at Westminster PC, Hattiesburg; FPC, Oxford; Covenant PC, Jackson; Fondren PC, Jackson; FPC, Tupelo.
Where is the columbarium located? What will it look like?
After considering several sites, the Columbarium Committee (Dr. Hal Moore, Mr. Perry Thompson, Mr. Hank Torjusen, and the Rev. Matt Mitchell, exofficio), with consultation with architect, Douglas Kearley of Mobile, suggested to the Session that the columbarium be located east of the Education Building where it will be easily accessible to the Sanctuary and the church patio. It is enclosed with brick columns and a decorative metal fence and will include planters and a fountain. The initial columbarium has 32 niches. The space accommodates two more units each with 8 more niches.
Do I own the niche?
No. The agreement document gives no property ownership rights to the member—the agreement is for the right to use a niche for inurnment and is subject to the control of the Session. The Church intends to exercise reasonable care in its maintenance of the columbarium. The Church assumes no liability for maintenance, for preservation, loss or damage to any urn placed in the columbarium, of the ashes of any person inurned. The church may move the columbarium or discontinue its use. In that event the church will attempt to provide notice it deems reasonable. The church will release urns to family members or, if not given to family, will handle the remains in a respectful and appropriate manner. Agreement rights are not transferable.
Many of the matters covered by these questions and answers will be addressed in greater detail in the Rules, Policies, and Regulations Related to the Columbarium of First Presbyterian Church, Pascagoula.
I want my final resting place to be at FPC. How can I buy a niche?
Details for purchasing a niche, including costs and policies, will be available in the church office.
Who may be inurned in the columbarium?
Active church members and their immediate families (spouses, children, and parents), active members who have moved away and their immediate families, current and former pastors and their immediate families are eligible for inurnment in the columbarium.
What about a funeral?
Members may choose to have a funeral or memorial service at First Presbyterian Church (or elsewhere) preceded or followed by a brief service of inurnment. All services on the campus will be under the auspices of the church’s pastor. At the time of the inurnment, flowers may be placed at the niche site temporarily. Thereafter, no flowers or mementoes will be allowed.
What does a niche cost and will the funds be used?
The cost of a niche is $2,000 and is not refundable. The church does not supply the urn. Each niche will be engraved at church expense. Payments for the right to use will be placed into a designated fund for maintenance of the columbarium as determined by the Session.