Asbury accepting applications for planned columbarium

Published 2:18 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2019

NORTH SHELBY – Asbury United Methodist Church will soon install a structure that will allow church members and their families to have a final resting place at a place they know, love and cherish.

A planned 104-niche granite columbarium that will house ashes of loved ones will be installed along a wall of the church’s Prayer Garden between the sanctuary and Williams Chapel.

Conversations about the columbarium began as Asbury was constructing a new sanctuary facility. After the new building was completed in the spring of 2018, church leaders revisited the columbarium, and the church council authorized the formation of the columbarium committee in August 2018, committee Chairwoman Lori Moler said.

A survey was conducted of the congregation to quantify interest in the columbarium, and about two-thirds of the 99 responses received indicated an interest.

Columbariums are common among churches the size of Asbury, whose representatives requested information from several local churches as well one as far away as Dallas, Texas.

Asbury leaders decided on Minnesota-based Eickhof Columbaria.

The 8-foot tall by 13-foot wide columbarium will be built in Minnesota, then disassembled and shipped to Asbury.

But first, the church must modify the space where the columbarium will be installed, including removing existing shrubbery and installing a limestone foundation.

“We have a landscaping plan,” Moler said. “I think it’s going to be beautiful.”

Moler said the columbarium is expected to be completed by early summer.

An information table about the columbarium was set up at the church, and announcements were made online and from the pulpit.

Asbury began accepting applications from eligible persons, which are defined in the church’s columbarium policies, on Monday, Jan. 14, and as of 10 a.m. that day, 19 applications had already been received, Moler said.

Each niche costs $2,500 and includes two urns. An individual can purchase a niche and single urn for $2,250.

Find links to the church’s policy and download an application at

The initial round of niche assignments will be made lottery style. Approved applicants through Friday, Jan. 18, will select their top three choices of niches, and the drawing will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

A second lottery could be needed, but after that point the remaining niches will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eickhof provides software for the maintaining of records related to the columbarium, Moler said.

The structure’s design will allow for a future expansion of the columbarium if deemed necessary.

“If this one fills up, we can go at least four or five more in the space we have,” Moler said.