Fresh landscaping makes columbarium at First United Methodist Church ready for services

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Smaller plants and wide walkway create room for remembering

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (September 6, 2021) – Though originally the plan was simply to trim and neaten the landscaping around the columbarium at First United Methodist Church (FUMC), the space has now been completely redesigned and replanted. “Sue Bovino said, ‘If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right,'” explained Pastor Dave Price. Bovino is a member of FUMC as well as a member of the Lansing Garden Club. She consulted with Garden Club President Diane Lund on the design of the project, and Lund helped select plants that would provide shade and serenity but also be easy to maintain. The fresh landscaping was completed last week.

A columbarium is a structure for the public storage of funerary urns, which contain cremated remains. The structure is intended to display the ashes and urns in a respectful way. FUMC built their columbarium and installed it earlier this year with the help of Chicago’s Finest Ironworks.

Price has always wanted the columbarium to provide a proper way for family members to say goodbye to their loved ones, on church grounds rather than at a mausoleum or cemetery plot. He says the fresh landscaping makes the space more accessible, particularly for people in wheelchairs who want to visit remains stored in the columbarium. And there is enough room for families to gather for small memorial services or other remembrances.

Throughout the summer the columbarium on the west wall of First United Methodist Church was surrounded by tall plants. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, June 2021)
fresh landscaping
In early September, the landscaping was completely updated, and a brick walk was added to make the columbarium more accessible. The open space also allows for small memorial gatherings. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, September 2021)
The lush garden made access to the columbarium difficult this summer. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, June 2021)
fresh landscaping
Replacing the overgrown garden with low-growing hydrangeas and ornamental grasses, and adding a wide brick walk, will allow people to view the engraved nameplates that will be installed on the columbarium. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, September 2021)

“I think it looks pretty amazing!” said Price about the fresh landscaping. He also noted that the church is preparing for the columbarium’s first use. A church member is planning to have a loved one’s ashes stored in the columbarium, and FUMC is working with a local engraver to have the name plate crafted.

First United Methodist Church is located at 18420 Burnham Avenue, Lansing, IL. The columbarium is on the west wall of the building, near Door 7.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you for this beautiful article and pictures featuring the columbarium at the First
    United Methodist Church!

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