St George's Columbarium and Memorial Garden

columbariumSacred ground. Tucked behind the wrought iron fence just to the right as you walk into the sanctuary is the St. George’s Columbarium. “Columba” means dove and the symbolism is evident as we contemplate the niches already nestled in the outer walls of the church. Such sacred ground suggests a place for quiet contemplation and reflection.

Under the creative and sensitive guidance of local landscape designer, Greg Touliatos, the Columbarium Committee finalized plans to create exciting improvements designed to capture all the senses. Look for a bubbling fountain, fragrant shrubs, flowering specimen trees, a cross for meditation and a central Chinese Elm that in years to come will provide a shaded canopy. Those who enter this space will feel as if they have stepped into a lush backyard, protected from the outside world by the gifts of God’s natural world.

The trend toward cremation has steadily increased. In 2009, just over 25 percent of all funerals used cremation. It is an individual decision whether to be buried or cremated. Cremation is usually a less expensive option than a traditional burial because it does not include a vault, a gravestone or opening and closing costs. While some prefer scattering ashes, others prefer having a place to visit and memorialize the dead. A niche meets this criteria and its close proximity to the church is often a selling point for those who choose cremation and interment in St. George’s Columbarium.

Inquiries: To inquire about purchasing a niche in the St. George’s Columbarium, please call the church office, 754-7282.

Reasons for choosing the Columbarium

Families and individuals who have already purchased a niche offer these explanations for their choice:

“We simply saw the convenience of a plan that involved our local church instead of our existing burial plot in our hometown that was three hundred miles away. We have enjoyed the comfort of knowing that we have a procedure in place that will apply minimum stress to our family and friends when we make that final flight.”

David and Mary Alice Olinger

“Kay and I are completely at peace knowing our families will not need to go through the trauma of funeral planning when we pass on. We have a niche in the columbarium and cremation arrangements completed. The fact that our remains will be at our church home is so much more satisfying than the thought of being anywhere else. We are so thankful that St. George’s has been there to provide for all of our needs.”

Gus and Kay Wadlington

“My reasons for choosing cremation include: church affiliation, environmentally friendly, safe place for visitation, perpetual care and no caskets or headstones.”

Ken Wied

“It is very comforting to see my husband’s name on our niche every time I pass by on my way to church. Before his death, we discussed our preference to be cremated. After his death, the very few details left to take care of was a godsend during a sad and detail driven time.”

Carolyn Martin

Columbarium Memorial Garden Upgrade

The Columbarium Committee has recently completed an extensive landscaping project. The goal was to provide a more secluded, private and quiet area in a garden that remains beautiful through all four seasons.

The Sweet Bay Magnolia in the center of the garden has been relocated to a spot on the East side of the church just outside of the Nave windows and has been replaced with a Bosque Elm. The Elm will eventually provide a beautiful canopy over the entire garden and break the stark white north wall of the Narthex. This central feature bed has been planted with five-dwarf Yaupon Holly and 180 Japanese Pachysandra as ground cover.  The center circle is bordered with tan cobblestones. The Itea plants removed from this area were replanted in the bed next to the Garth where we had the water problem. Iteas love wet feet.

The half circle bed between the two banks of niches against the east wall has been replanted with two Ocala Anise on each side with two Ginger Lilies between them. A water fountain, not yet selected, will go in the center of this space surrounded by 10 Goldstrum Daisies and a tan cobblestone border. The sound of the fountain will help overcome street noises as you enjoy the garden. A cross is planned for location between the two Niches and above the fountain. The cross is not yet available but will be shortly.

Added to the right of the entrance gate is a Service Berry tree and along the north fence line are 8 Emerald Arborvitae to provide a privacy screen from the drive and parking lot. In the garden area near the bench on the South side, a Weeping Yaupon Holly and a Savannah Holly have been added.

Hollies removed from the half-circle bed at the East wall have been relocated on the North side of the garden along with two new Mohawk Viburnum. The two Fringe Trees have also been moved just outside the fence on the North side. A new Japanese Maple, which has green leaves that turn crimson in the fall, has been added in the garden area.

In summary, 17 plants were relocated and 34 new plants and/or trees have been added plus 180 ground cover plants. In addition, two bluestone stepping-stones were placed between the bench pad and the main walk. The soil has been enhanced, fertilized. and  mulched. This was all covered with pine needles for winter protection.

The Columbarium Committee hopes everyone will visit and enjoy this beautiful memorial garden.

Funeral Planning Survey

St. George’s Episcopal Church requests your help with this brief questionnaire. Your answers will help the church understand what our congregation wants and needs during the difficult time when a loved one dies. Your responses will remain anonymous. However, there will be an opportunity at the end of the survey to request additional information if you wish. Paper copies of the survey are available via the church office or Columbarium Commitee. However, you can quickly take the survey online.

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