The St. Alban’s columbarium was constructed as part of a major expansion and addition project completed in 1992 and is situated in the private, landscaped courtyard located between, and visible from, the nave and parish hall. This respectful place for cremated remains of parish members and families expresses the strength of the love and pastoral care found at St. Alban’s.
From ancient times, the primary ministers of rites for the dead were family and loved ones of the deceased. Early Christians broadened this sense of family to include the congregation, and for generations cemeteries located on church ground were the chosen resting place for members of the parish. Although not typical, church columbaria are much like church cemeteries, which also are no longer as common as in past eras.
The death of a parishioner, a member of our spiritual family, is much like the death of a relative. It requires the pastoral ministry of compassion and care on the part of the entire congregation, and the loss of a loved one inspires our faith in the good news of new life after death. The Episcopal liturgies for burial and committal allow the congregation to entrust the deceased into God’s merciful care and receive the blessing of God’s love. The ashes of the departed are a comforting presence to some people and a reminder of the impermanence of temporal life.