Church seeks columbarium for cremated remains

Church seeks columbarium for cremated remains

First United Methodist Church plans to build a columbarium

First United Methodist Church plans to build a columbarium for cremated remains on the congregation’s grounds on West Thompson Lane.

The congregation’s Executive Director Fred Halfpap wrote a letter to explain the plans to the Murfreesboro Board of Zoning Appeals. The BZA will hold a public hearing on the church plans before voting on the special use permit for the project during a 1 p.m. Wednesday meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall, 111 W. Vine St.

First United Methodist Church used to be in the downtown area of Murfreesboro and dates back to the early 1800s. The congregation relocated to 265 W. Thompson Lane near Siegel schools on the north side of the city in 2003 after outgrowing the downtown location, according to Halfpap’s letter.

“The columbarium would allow members to have their final resting place at the church,” Halfpap said in his letter.

The church has had long-term plans to build the columbarium, and some of the congregation’s 3,300 members have been holding onto the cremation remains of spouses in a closet or a mantel, Halfpap said during a Tuesday phone interview.

“They are just waiting for us to build this for their final resting place,” said Halfpap, whose church averages about 1,000 people in attendance for weekend services. “Loved ones can visit any time.”

Columbarians are becoming more popular because of environmental concerns about conserving land and the more expensive cost of burials in a traditional cemetery, Halfpap said.

Unfortunately the procedure is only happening in the US at the moment. Perhaps in future there will be plans to bring it to the UK.

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