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Should an Ossuary be a part of your Columbarium Program?

Recently we had a few churches asks us questions about including an ossuary in their columbarium design. Since I’ve only been a part of the Columbarium Designers, Inc. team a few years, I didn’t know what an ossuary was. Dave, who has been helping churches, cemeteries and organizations with their columbarium programs for over 30 year’s explained it to me.

What are the benefits of an Interior Columbarium?

Recently, we have received a number of questions concerning designing and installing a columbarium inside a church or an organization’s facility. The high density of a columbarium means that relatively little space is required. A suitable location can almost always be found. Many churches are finding areas that have no other use and the planning of and installation of a columbarium has been a very successful project. The opportunity to create a columbarium inside the church or an organization facility is a rapidly growing portion of the industry.

A columbarium inside opens up other options of materials that can be used since it won’t have to weather a storm and will provide a beautiful memorial.

An Exterior Columbarium or Interior?

Columbariums can be designed and installed almost anywhere. The high density of a columbarium means that relatively little space is required. A columbarium can be almost any size and can be put in areas you may not think to use. A church recently put niches behind their altar in a chapel. It works perfectly for them. Another church put a columbarium in their prayer garden, making it a place of reflection, prayer and a place to remember the loved ones of the church members who are memorialized there. There are endless options.

Cremation. Try looking it up on Google!

Have you ever typed the word “cremation” into Google? What did you get? After the sponsored ads, I got locations in my area I could go to that I could get a cremation done. Then of course Wikipedia with an accurate but cold statement of what cremation is. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremation) There is even a youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHBaCZ3slis ) you can actually see a cremation being done! It is almost 5 minutes and over 11 million people have viewed it. (Me included) Next a website with information from cremation providers to merchandise you can buy to answer to questions you may have. (http://www.cremationinfo.com/cremationinfo/index.htm )

By now you are probably wondering “what’s my point”?

A Little History About Cremation

It’s said that cremation started in the Stone Age mostly in Europe and spread across Northern Europe. Decorative pottery cremation urns have been found in Western Russia among the Slavic peoples. Cremation spread to the British Isles, Spain and Portugal and later became an integral part of the burial customs for the Greeks. Cremation was widely practiced by the Roman Empire. Cremated remains were stored in intricate cremation urns and placed in columbarium-like buildings.

Around 400 A.D. because of Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor, who made Christianity the dominant religion; cremation was replaced with in-ground or in-tomb burial. This would remain the accepted practice throughout Europe for approximately 1,500 years.

A Columbarium Program Offers Compassion

Your group is excited it has made the decision to include a Columbarium on the campus. The committee chose the perfect design and construction partner, loves the master plan. Enough niches have been sold so construction of the first phase has been completed. The tracking of the sales online is easy and everything is going great! There is a death of a member and the family approaches you needing help. You are ready to offer guidance in selecting a niche, but realize their grief is deep and they really need your help and compassion.


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