Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Choosing a final resting place

All Saints Lutheran Church (ELCA), Cottage Grove, Minnesota, built a columbarium on its grounds when members expressed interest in a resting place. The congregation does not have a cemetery. Photo provided by Jules Erickson

A two-year planning process at All Saints Lutheran Church, Cottage Grove, Minnesota, recently culminated in the dedication of its new columbarium. The 48-niche granite columbarium and two matching four-foot granite benches were purchased from Anderson Monument in Austin, Minnesota. Each niche holds two urns which will contain the ashes of deceased congregational members.

Forty-six individuals have already reserved space in the columbarium. The majority of these people are partnered, and each couple will use one niche. Some of the single members of the congregation have agreed to share a niche, therefore lowering the cost of their investment. The first person inurned in the columbarium took place on November 23, 2011.

More than two years ago, Senior Pastor Jules Erickson conducted a survey of congregants to ascertain the number of people who were considering cremation and would be interested in being interred in a columbarium on the church grounds. (All Saints Lutheran does not have its own cemetery.) Enough interest was shown in the initial survey to lead Pastor Erickson to ask for volunteers to form a Columbarium Committee to plan the process of having a columbarium installed on the church grounds.

A five-member committee developed policies and procedures governing the use and maintenance of the columbarium, sought City of Cottage Grove approval for the columbarium (the first to be installed in the city), chose the company to build and install the columbarium, and secured a building permit. Members of the Columbarium Committee worked with other members of the congregation to prepare the foundations for the columbarium and benches. The two benches were donated by a member of the congregation in memory of his deceased wife.

For additional information about the columbarium or the columbarium process, please contact Pastor Jules Erickson at Jules@allsaintscg.org or Ted Fredrickson at tfredrickson45@comcast.net.

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