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Columbarium and Prayer Garden Proposed to Congregation
Posted November 1, 2018

by Tom Reedy

A couple of years ago, several couples from White Bluff attended a memorial service where they experienced quite a discovery. That occurred as they visited the beautiful columbarium and prayer garden where the loved one's ashes were placed. For most of them it was a first-time experience, as well as quite a revelation.

Over the past twelve to fifteen years, cremation has become an increasingly frequent choice (some estimates are as high as 60% today) for families interested in a more cost-effective alternative to funerals. Funerals are expensive and costs are increasing, while cremation and inurnment provide dramatic cost savings.

A little over a year ago, the Trustees formed a committee to investigate building a Columbarium and Prayer Garden at White Bluff Chapel to provide a resting place for the cremated remains of deceased Chapel members and other eligible persons. Betsy and Bill Torman chair the Committee. Other members are Debbie and Doc Bradley; Maura and George Collins; Cheryl and Gary Comer; Kathleen and John Knightstep; Marilyn and Mike Pollard; JoAnn and Tom Reedy; Carla and Ronnie Roberts; and Nancie and Jody Yarbro.

Last month the Committee submitted their report of the project to the Trustees, who approved the site and conceptual design and approved pre-sale of the niches and memorial wall plaques, which will provide the sole funding for the project. No funds for the project will come from the Chapel's operating budget.

The Columbarium and Prayer Garden will be located on the east lot across the driveway from the back entrance to fellowship hall. It will be surrounded by beautiful, well-developed trees. Each niche will hold the cremated remains of either one or two individuals, and the memorial wall plaques will be available to remember loved ones not inurned in the Columbarium. The faceplates of the niches and the memorial plaques will be custom-engraved granite.

Congregants in attendance were invited to the fellowship hall to obtain an informational brochure, review artist renderings, and discuss the proposed Columbarium and Prayer Garden with members of the Committee. The brochure contains additional information, such as prices, photos, regulations and whom to contact to register one's interest in the project. Accommodations will be on a first-come, first-served basis. It is hoped that enough reservations will come in during November so that construction can start before the end of this year.