The Episcopal Church embraces cremation as a reverent way to commit human bodies to God upon death. Our Book of Common Prayer assumes that the burial of the dead will be done in the church with the body present. Traditionally, Episcopal churches have graveyards situated on their grounds so that individuals could be born into eternal life from the church just as they had been born into the church through baptism—from womb to tomb. Today many congregations do not have the land resources to provide for burial in the ground so columbaria provide a reasonable alternative.
Our new columbarium unit will be consecrated on October 23 at the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist when Bishop Dena Harrison visits.
It is loving and responsible stewardship to make arrangements for your body upon death. Communicants of St. Stephen’s and their family members may purchase niches now by contacting Sylvia Swain, the administrative assistant, for the contract. There are fees involved and the purchase is not transferable.
You may also want to schedule an appointment with a member of the clergy to plan your funeral liturgy. The church can keep a copy of it on file so that your family members will know your desires when the time comes. It is a final gift you give to your loved ones by choosing the words and music you want them to hear. You may also wish to create a will, a living will, and a health care proxy, if you have not done so. Parents you will also want to choose guardians for your children.
Finally, as you consider your last wishes, you may also want to consider making a planned gift to St. Stephen’s Church or to the St. Stephen’s Endowment. You may bequeath land or money in your will. You may wish to make the church a beneficiary of life insurance or retirement accounts. Contact Karen Soh , our development director, if you have questions.
We all die. Choosing to make decisions about these last things does not hasten it, rather it can free us from worry and dread, knowing that whether we live or die we are the Lord’s.