Who may use the Columbarium?

Members of Portland First United Methodist Church and their extended family may use the Columbarium. We are currently investigating reserving 50% of the niches for church members and their families and opening the remainder of the facility to the surrounding community.

Why would we have a Columbarium at our church?

A Columbarium ministry revives the age-old tradition of the church to serve its members from baptism to death. For hundreds of years, Christians have brought their loved ones to the church to be buried at death either in the church building or in an adjoining churchyard cemetery. Such action gives testimony to our faith in a God who created us and loves us and to whom each of us returns at death.

With a Columbarium at the church, family can visit their departed loved one and reflect before or after services. Also, there is great comfort in knowing that your loved one is there with you. There is also a practical side. It is economical, theologically sound and environmentally friendly. It also offers a convenient way to handle pre-need concerns, relieving the surviving family of difficult decisions. The availability of this service also provides a spiritual outreach to members of our community who may not be connected to any church.

What do I do if I want to purchase the use of a niche?

Forms and current price lists will be made available for interested parties in the church office. Forms will also be made available online.

How would this facility be paid for?

The proposed plan would allow only those who wish to participate to share the cost for the facility. Participation can be in the form of the purchase of niches, the purchase of a memorial bench, altar, tree, brick, donation towards the memorial fountain or a general contribution towards the building of the facility. The facility will only begin construction once there is enough funding to build the first phase of the project.

How much does it cost to purchase a niche?

Prices vary for church members and non-members.

12x12 niche (center row of each monument)
     Members - $2,200 (add $400* for 2nd person in same niche)
     Non-members - $2,525 (add $519* for 2nd person in same niche)

8x8 niche (2 rows above and below center row)
     Members - $1,850 (add $400* for 2nd person in same niche)
     Non-members - $2,124 (add $519* for 2nd person in same niche)

8x8 niche (top and bottom most rows)
     Members - $1,500 (add $400* for 2nd person in same niche)
     Non-members - $1,722 (add $519* for 2nd person in same niche)

*The lesser charge for the second inurnment covers administrative and engraving costs.

NOTE: All prices are as of August 25, 2011 and are subject to change. Please contact the church office for current prices.

» View sample niche monument layout
» Download Niche Reservation Form

What size urn can I use in the niche?

The 8x8 niche can hold two urns that are 5 ½ x 5 ½ x 7 inches each.

The 12x12 niche can hold two round urns that are 10x6 each.

Urns can be purchased locally at area funeral homes or through Eickhof directly. For more information, please visit the Eickhof Web site; call 800.253.0457, fax 218.281.6244; or e-mail

How much do cremations cost?

As of March 2011, the cost of direct cremations average $1,750. Arrangements can be made with area funeral homes for this service.

What if I want to buy a bench, brick or other item in honor of or in memory of someone? How much does that cost?

You can remember someone by name in this prayer garden even if they are buried or will be buried somewhere else, or if they are still living and you would like to honor them in the following ways:

» Memorial rock benches are from $800-$1,200, depending on the length of the bench.

» Memorial teak benches are $1,750 each.

» The Memorial rock altar is $2,000.

» Memorial bricks are $75 each.

» Large trees are $500 and up.

» Smaller decorative trees and landscape plantings are $250 and up.

Contributions can also be made towards the Memorial Fountain which will be in memory of Frances Schuchardt ($5,000 total cost).

General, undesignated donations can also be made towards the Memorial Prayer Garden and Columbarium.

» Download Memorial purchase agreement

Who takes care of the niches and the property around the niche monuments?

An endowment will be set up to take care of the niches and the maintenance of the Prayer Garden grounds.

What are the Policies and Procedures?

You can download a copy of our DRAFT policies and procedures by clicking below.

» Download policies and procedures
» Download Pre-Construction Agreement

Is it okay for Christians to be cremated?

Yes, we believe that both burial and cremation are dignified ways to exhibit proper respect for the dead.

While burial was common practice for early Christians, the Bible nowhere commands burial as the only method of disposing of a body.

We believe cremation will not interfere with God's ability to resurrect the body. Bodies that have already turned to dust are in the same state as cremated bodies.

"Cremation is a process used to reduce the body to ashes and small bone fragments. Intense heat, converts the body to its basic components, idealized as "'ashes to ashes, dust to dust.'"

Cremation is essentially a hastening of the natural process that occurs following death. This ancient practice which began in 3000 B.C. and became the dominant method of final disposition in 800 B.C. has particular relevance today with land surrounding churches less readily available for in ground burial. The number of people choosing cremation has steadily increased since being brought to the U.S. in 1874 and stands at a percentage of almost 30% of all deaths in the United States. Cremation and placement of the ashes on church grounds makes it possible to continue the tradition of granting a place for God's children to "dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Additional information about the history of cremation and some scriptural references are available below.

» Click to view history of cremation
» Click to view scripture item #1 on cremation
» Click to view scripture item #2 on cremation

For more information, contact one of the following Memorial Prayer Garden and Columbarium members: Dave Hawley, David Lewis, Jimmy Atkins, Becky Cofas, Marietta Koester and Jim Schuchardt.