In the Episcopal Church, the funeral liturgy is an act of worship, and finds all meaning in the resurrection. The liturgy for “The Burial of the Dead” in our Book of Common Prayer is actually an Easter liturgy and is characterized by joy, and the certainty that nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Over the centuries, Christians have laid the dead to rest in churches, where they are remembered and their remains safeguarded. Burial within the church itself or in the adjacent churchyard was once a common practice. In recent years, cremation, rather than burial, has become more common. In this way, the remains of the deceased can stay on at the church that played such an important role in their lives.
In keeping with this tradition, Grace offers the opportunity for parishioners’ ashes and those of their loved ones to repose inside the sanctuary in a “niche” in the wall of the columbarium. Ashes may also be interred in the Grace Memorial Garden for those who wish to bury the remains in the earth within the parish grounds.
The columbarium at Grace Episcopal Church currently houses 112 covered niches, each sized at 9″ square on the front by 14″ deep. Each niche accommodates an inner box that can hold one or two sets of remains, depending on the box size. Because of church rules regulating ownership of church property, subscribers are technically granted a permanent “license” rather than actual ownership of their selected niches. Niches are selected at the time of the payment of the license. You may purchase a license in advance to reserve a niche.
Licenses are offered at a cost of $500 each for the first interment and an additional $100 for a second committal in the same niche. This covers the cost of the niche, the standard brass name plaques and perpetual care. If desired the church can supply a hardwood box to hold the remains inside the niche. These cost $100. Otherwise any rigid container may be used that fits inside the niche.
We inter remains in the memorial garden directly in the earth without containers. The church office maintains a map of the locations of remains. We also place a plaque on the garden memorial board just inside the North door of the church. Donations to the garden should be in the form of monetary contributions rather than plants, markers or other physical additions.
Our rector and staff at Grace Church can help you in the planning of a funeral, both with spiritual guidance and with the details of planning a funeral service at Grace. Should the need arise, do not hesitate to call the Church office (231-947-2330).