History of the Columbarium

 Columbarium at Good Shepherd

Churches historically have laid the dead to rest with reverence and care in special places set apart in church yards and in cathedrals. Now, in keeping with that tradition, churches have established special facilities for the care and safekeeping of cremated remains in Columbaria. The name Columbarium is derived from the Latin Columba or “Dovecote.” The dove sign is a symbol of God.

Today, many people are searching for an alternative to ground burial that offers beauty and simplicity. Cremation with memorialization is one such alternative. Cremation is a step in the care of human remains that provides a simple return to nature and accomplishes in a few moments what otherwise takes years.

Purchase Price

A niche in the columbarium for members of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd will be priced at $800 or $1200, depending on the size of the niche. Non-members may purchase niches for $1200 or $1500. The purchase price includes the inurnment right and the upkeep of the columbarium. The name plate and engraving will be additional, subject to current costs. Opening and closing of the niche after the first entombment may involve an additional charge. The Columbarium Committee may change the purchase fee at any time with the approval of the Church Council. Full payment is due when requesting entombment. If purchasing for future entombment, a 50% payment with regular monthly payments is required.


The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, through the pastor, shall arrange with the family of the deceased for the entombment of the cremated remains and a committal service. Committal without benefit of clergy shall not be permitted.

Limits of Liability

The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd shall exercise reasonable care in maintaining the columbarium. However, the church will have no liability of any loss or damage to the columbarium, the niches, or the cremated remains as a result of any human act or act of nature. No personal liability, whatsoever, shall be incurred by any person acting on behalf of the church concerning the columbarium.


Ashes to be interred may be placed in a bronze sheet metal urn available from the church at the current cost of $80. The person or persons handling the inuring arrangement may also furnish containers. Containers must not exceed allowable space in the niche. The actual size of a single niche is  11 ¾” high x 11 ¾ “ wide x 13” deep. A double niche is 11 ¾ “ high x 23 ½” wide x 13” deep. If it is planned to place two urns in the niche, then each urn must not exceed one-half the allowable space.

Discretionary Niches

The church may reserve, at its discretion, 5% of the niches for the use of the deceased church members’ other immediate family (immediate is defined as spouse, parents, children, and siblings) whose circumstances preclude the purchase of a niche. The decision concerning the use of these niches shall rest with the pastor and the Columbarium Committee.

Surrender the Right to Entomb

The right to inurn in the Columbarium may be surrendered with no refunds of money except as determined by the Columbarium Committee. If surrender is due to a necessity, with the permission of the Columbarium Committee and the pastor, one-half of the purchase price may be refunded. The right to inurn, unless earlier terminated, shall automatically expire one hundred (100) years after its issuance if entombment has not been made, or if proof has been received that the designees have been interred or buried elsewhere, and such a right thereafter shall be of no force or effect. However upon application duly made to the Columbarium Committee or for good cause shown, such right will continue to be in effect. Just prior to the automatic expiration as indicated herein above, the Committee shall attempt to provide notice by all reasonable methods to persons having the right of inurnment.

Reconfiguration of the Columbarium

The church reserves the right to enlarge, remodel, or relocate the Columbarium. In the event any niche is affected by such action, the church will substitute and the Columbarium Committee shall designate another niche of substantially like size and character. The purchaser shall retain the same right as originally held. In the event the Columbarium shall be discontinued and demolished, the church shall notify the kin of all inurned giving them the right to remove the cremated remains at the expense of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

Titles and Rights Retained by the Church

Purchase of the niche is the purchase of the right of entombment in the Columbarium. The purchaser acquires no property rights in the Columbarium and its niches and agrees the said items and areas are always under the sole ownership and control of The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. The right to place in a columbarium niche the cremated remains of an eligible person, as long as the columbarium shall be maintained, is based on the following terms.

  • The purchaser shall receive a certificate signed by the chair and treasurer of the Columbarium Committee attesting to his/her ownership of the right to see a niche for the entombment of cremated remains. The certificate shall be issued after the purchase price has been paid.
  • The right to use a designated niche may not be sold. The Columbarium Committee and pastor may make transfer, bequest, or change of the right upon written request and approval. Such changes shall become effective when reported to the Columbarium Committee and the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. Any approved transferee shall have all the rights of the original purchaser and shall be bound by all the terms and conditions to which the original purchaser was subject.
  • Cremated remains may be removed from a columbarium niche only with written approval of the pastor and the Columbarium Committee.
  • Niche location shall be determined and designated by the Columbarium Committee. However, an effort shall be made by the Committee to place family niches in proximity. The standard practice shall be to assign a niche location at the time of full payment.
  • There shall be no flowers, flags or other decoration allowed on the Columbarium. The only exception will be the day of the entombment when on basket of flowers shall be allowed. Loved ones may more appropriately be remembered with memorial gifts to the church or charity of choice.
  • A death certificate must accompany the cremated remains when they are presented for committal.