Columbarium Questions & Answers

What does cremation involve?
When a body is cremated, it is heated to a very high temperature which insures reduction to a granulated ash. The ash is called "cremains."

How are the cremains returned?
The cremains are returned in a sealed container which measures approximately 12x6x3 inches. The name of the deceased is clearly affixed and a certificate is provided attesting to identity.

Can there be a viewing prior to cremation?
Yes, funeral homes provide for the rental of a casket so viewing and visitation can take place prior to cremation in the same way that is normally done for in-ground burials. Other funeral homes provide an inexpensive wooden casket for viewing which is then cremated with the body.

What happens to the cremains?
The disposition of the cremains is entirely up to the family. Some families wish to scatter or bury the ashes while others place the cremains in an enclosure or "niche" in a Columbarium. While inurment (placing of cremains in a columbarium) is normally permanent, it is also possible with our system to relocate the cremains at any time.

Is there a significant difference in the cost of cremation as opposed to in-ground burial?
Yes, the costs are markedly less for cremation and inurment in our Columbarium since no purchase of casket or vault is required. In addition, there are no burial plot purchase costs or fees for opening and closing the grave. This can amount to a difference of many thousands of dollars.

What does cremation and inurment cost?
Families will need to discuss costs of cremation with their chosen funeral home. Costs vary significantly depending upon the services requested. An approximation and comparison of costs is available. Please click the Cost Comparison link on this site. The cost of a niche in the College Lutheran Church Columbarium is $150.00 (or $200.00 for two sets of cremains inured together in a single niche). This one-time, inclusive, non-refundable fee is charged only for the purpose of covering the cost of Columbarium construction and the engraving of the identification name plate. This is a service to our members.

What about the funeral?
At College Lutheran Church we treat the cremains exactly as we do a casket for the funeral service. A special pall (a parament which covers the cremains box) is used. The pastor carries the cremains in procession. At the conclusion of the service, the family is invited to join the pastor as the cremains are placed in the Columbarium.

Why is inurment in a Columbarium rather than “scattering” helpful?
As opposed to scattering the cremains, the Columbarium provides a place for family members to come to remember their loved one. The Columbarium is also a place where flowers can be left on special occasions. It is important for people to have a place to come and remember. The Columbarium not only provides such a place for family members, but also reminds the entire congregation that we live our lives in the presence of the saints who have gone before us.

Can Columbarium space be reserved in advance?
Certainly; one or several niches in the College Lutheran Church Columbarium can be reserved and members are encouraged to do so. Family blocks of adjacent niches can also be reserved. When this is done, a nameplate is placed on the niche to insure its availability when needed.

Can non-members use our church's Columbarium?
Members of our congregation who wish to place the cremains of immediate family members in our Columbarium or reserve niches for later use by family members are welcomed to do so. Due to space limitations, we normally do not accept cremains for inurment when there is no direct connection with the congregation.

Can family members be placed together?
Every effort will be made to place family members in adjacent niches. However, in order to insure adjacent placement is possible, it is necessary to reserve niches in advance. The location of niches within the Columbarium may be chosen by the family from those currently available.

A Cost Comparison between traditional burial and our Columbarium can be found here.