Introducing the Columbarium

Salem’s columbarium for the inurnment of cremated remains stand just outside the windows of our main lobby in a patio-like garden setting. Manufactured by Eickhof Columbaria of Crookston, MN, the columbarium is a beautiful 8 1/2 foot cross faced with carnelian granite and bounded by a brown steel frame. Present and future landscaping and plantings in the area will create a beautiful memorial garden conductive to meditation and reflection.

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a structure especially designed for the inurnment of the cremated remains of the deceased in a group of niches much like safe deposit boxes. Traditionally, the churchyard has been the favored resting place of Christians and the columbarium offers the opportunity for Salem folks to return to that tradition.

What is cremation?

Cremation is the process of returning the body to nature through heat and evaporation. This practice has been in use for centuries and is accepted worldwide. More and more people from all social, religious, and economic backgrounds are choosing cremation as an alternative to traditional burial of the body.

Is this an acceptable choice for Christians?

A growing number of Christians, for a variety of reasons, are choosing cremation and would prefer to be inurned at their church. In Crow Wing County the cremation rate has reached 50% in 2005 and continues to rise. Cremation and columbarium inurnment is an accepted practice in the Christian world and is in full accord with the beliefs and practices of the Lutheran Church. Our connection with Christ is not in how we are returned to the earth, but in our baptism.

Would there be a funeral or committal service?

Salem Lutheran Church, through its Pastor, shall arrange (with the family of the deceased who own the right of inurnment in our columbarium) for the inurnment and a committal service. All cremated remains to be inurned in a niche in Salem’s columbarium shall have a Christian committal service which may or may not follow a funeral service held at Salem.

Will the columbarium and memorial garden be open to visitors?

Yes. The Columbarium and Memorial Garden is open for visitation at any time.

Will the niches be marked?

Yes. The granite face of each niche will be engraved with identifying information – name and dates of birth and death. The font style, size and design will be uniform and the cost is included in the niche price.

How many urns may be placed in a niche?

The columbarium consists of 60 single niches and 60 double niches. Each single niche is 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ x 7″. A double niche accommodates two such urns. The urns are provided by the church. The cost of these urns is included in the niche price.

What is my cost for inurnment rights to a niche?

Inurnment rights in the columbarium are priced at $800.00 per person. This price includes the inurnment rights, standard urn, engraving, opening of the niches at the time of inurnment, upkeep and improvement of the columbarium and surrounding grounds.

How may I reserve a niche?

Application documents and a copy of the columbarium policy are available at the church office during regular office hours or you may download them here: columbarium packet. When you are prepared to finalize your application, a staff member or a member of the Memorial Garden and Columbarium Board will be happy to help you do so. Niche location assignments are made on a first come (with payment), first choice basis.