The First United Methodist Church of Shreveport offers persons associated with the church and their families a simple, dignified option to a traditional burial.
Located in the Memorial Garden, between the Sanctuary and Couch Chapel below the Eternal Flame, the Columbarium is a beautiful, peaceful location to serve as the final resting place for persons choosing cremation.
The Columbarium fulfills the obligation of the Church’s servicing its members from birth to death, providing a faithful stewardship option, and offering a final homecoming for the Church’s extended family.
Historically, the church has been the final resting place of deceased members, in sites within a church building or in an associated cemetery. Burial of casketed remains in a mausoleum inside a church was often a form of honor for noteworthy clerics, royalty, and important citizens. This practice continues today in historic churches in large cities. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries―in rural America particularly―churches with available adjacent land established cemeteries for traditional casketed in-ground burial. In the late twentieth century, cremation increased in public acceptance nationally. A columbarium to receive cremated earthly remains was offered in interior and exterior locations by churches lacking a cemetery for traditional casketed burial.
The ministries of First Methodist serve its members in many joys and concerns of life and of death. In lieu of traditional in-ground burial, now members increasingly select cremation; thus, First Methodist provides a columbarium for dignified placement of earthly remains after cremation. Cremation and inurnment in a columbarium are theologically appropriate in United Methodism and in many other Christian traditions. The Columbarium deepens the sacredness of the Church’s sanctuary and Memorial Garden. It provides continuing Christian reverence, respect, and honor to the deceased.
What is a Columbarium?
A columbarium is a repository to house the ashes from cremation. Ashes are placed and sealed in a container (urn) fitting into a compartment (niche). The Columbarium of First Methodist is a structure with 294 niches constructed at the west perimeter of the Memorial Garden. Each niche accommodates two urns, each containing cremated remains. The columbarium could be considered an alternative to the “church cemetery,” only vertical and compact.
Who may use the Columbarium?
Inurnment in the Columbarium is available to any member or former member of First Methodist, United Methodist clergy, employees and former employees of the Church, and spouses, parents, and the children of the foregoing persons.
How do I acquire a niche space?
An eligible person (or representative of an eligible person) may acquire usage of a niche for a one-time subscription fee of $2,500. Complete a draft Certificate of Inurnment Rights, from which the Church creates duplicate original Certificates for the Church’s and the subscriber’s permanent records.
What is included in the fee?
Subscription of a niche provides: perpetual right of inurnment, two urns, a granite niche cover inscribed upon death with the name(s) of the deceased and dates of birth and death, and continuing maintenance and landscaping. The fee does not include off-church-premises expenses.
May I select my niche?
The subscriber selects from available niches in the Columbarium upon payment of the subscription fee.
What happens if I acquire a niche and decide not to use it?
Upon receiving notification of a subscriber’s intent to relinquish a niche, the Church will reacquire the niche and refund $1,000 of the subscription fee (Paragraph 5e, Policies document). A niche cannot be sold or transferred unilaterally by the subscriber and is reserved for inurnment of eligible decedents only.
Columbarium Information and Acquiring a Niche
The Columbarium Committee, appointed by the Pastor and approved by the Church Council, supports the Columbarium ministry. Persons eligible to acquire a Columbarium niche may refer to Resources (below) for a draft Certificate form, guidelines for preparing a draft Certificate, and Columbarium depiction of niches currently available for selection. For information beyond that on this website, call the church at 318.424.7771. A member of the committee or a pastor will be pleased to visit with you.
Return a completed draft Certificate to:
First United Methodist Church
Attn: Columbarium Committee
P. O. Box 1567
Shreveport, Louisiana 71165-1567