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Last Rites - Burial of the Dead - Funeral Service

Columbarium at St. John's Church

Nothing in death or life can separate us from the love of God.
(Romans 8:38-39)

When the souls of our loved ones go from us into the hands of the living God, we remember them in God's love within the community of those still living.

The Columbarium provides a beautiful and reverent opportunity to claim the church as a sacred place of burial. Burial within the church has been a respected tradition throughout history. Some of the world's most historic churches are known for their cemeteries that adjoin the church.

St. John's continues that tradition with our own Columbarium. Today, churches throughout the world are finding that columbaria contribute to a feeling of church community. Be it Christmas or Easter Sunday or regular Sabbath Eucharists, the congregation -- past and present -- are the "Living Stones" together in body and spirit in history.

In response to a strong expression of interest by the community at St.John's, the Rector and the Vestry are pleased to announce that The St. John's Columbarium, located in the downstairs Chapel, is open to parish members and their families. Non-members will be considered on an individual basis.

In our Columbarium, we place the ashes of those bodies, which have now returned to the dust from which they came. Our Chapel itself and those who worship within it become the living memorial to those whom we have lost from among us, but know to be living God's love.

The offering price for a niche is $450.00, providing space for one interment. Adjoining niches are available for multiple purchases. This price is inclusive of the brass plaques provided by the parish, engraving of the name and dates of the deceased and interment fees. The Guidelines for The Columbarium, the Certification Form, as well as the Authorization Form from the family of the deceased will be provided by the Parish Office.

Applications for purchase may be addressed to:
The Rector
c/o St. John's Episcopal Church
158 West High Street
Somerville, New Jersey 08876
Attn: The Columbarium

"The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, their bodies are buried in peace, but their names live for evermore."

Pastoral Care from the Rector

Christian Perspectives on the End of Life:

Practical as well as Spiritual Help

While no one really likes talking about death, we all face the loss of people we love throughout our lives. Often when we do not expect it, we are called upon to make decisions for ourselves, or for those we love, regarding issues at the end of life. More options are available today for care at these difficult times, and it is our responsibility to learn about our options. I would welcome anyone who desires to talk about how Christians look at and make decisions about the end of life. With advances in health care, and more complicated ethical decisions required of all of us, we all need to be informed about what our faith teaches and what our options are regarding issues at the end of life.

I would be pleased to meet with anyone to talk about Advance Directives for Healthcare, Living Wills, Health Care Proxies, and other ways to which we can help loved ones with our care should the need arise. I will discuss hospice alternatives for those facing terminal illness.

But probably more so than anything, I would like to share with any individual, couple, family, or group at St. John's their Funeral Options, both in the way we plan liturgies and the arrangements that must be made for our burial or cremation. I have a booklet entitled "Funeral Preparation" and wish to share it with you. There is information on St. John's Columbarium, guidelines, and other related information on cremation. Issues to be considered at the time of death are too numerous to mention here, but nonetheless, important. To prepare now for your funeral may be one of the wisest things you ever do. The process of grieving is another area of concern. There are some valuable resources at our disposal. I am here to help.

Making a Will -- and supporting the ministry of the Church

Sometimes we think we don’t have to say certain things in life, and in the life of the Church. These things should be obvious. Most of them are common sense. Other things may be about sharing vital information, communicating important concerns, local custom, tradition or advertising special events.

One of these important items has to do with making a will in your life, regardless of the size of your estate, and no matter what station in life you may be in. We will all die, and one of the most forward-thinking, considerate and helpful things we can do for our families and/ or successors is to leave a will.

Our Book of Common Prayer includes a specific direction to reflect and act upon: “The Minister of the Congregation is directed to instruct the people, from time to time, about the duty of Christian parents to make prudent provisions for the well-being of their families, and for all persons to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses” (The Book of Common Prayer, page 445).

My instruction to you, therefore, is to make a will !

The second item in that instruction is worth repeating: Please DO leave a bequest to our beloved St. John’s Church. The church where you have been baptized, confirmed, and married, the place where you were nurtured in Sunday School, the community where you have been challenged, the place where you have worshipped, the church where you may well have your funeral, does not serve in all those ways without receiving financial gifts, and in particular portions of one’s final estate.

St. John’s is a very special place where grace and love are known to so many who pass through our big red doors and meet people of hospitality and faith. Many contribute annually to our needs. Thank you! Your stewardship is heart-felt and appreciated. You know that we are called to err on the side of generosity and abundance in order for this parish to flourish. Every dollar given to St. John’s helps us continue to serve Christ and His Church. We depend upon a faithful and generous community of people. Thank you!

An overwhelming number of people serve with deep love and devotion. And we are better off because of them. Their commitment is beyond reproach. Still, of course, we serve everyone with sincerity and grace God has given us.

Ultimately, of course, the church is a community, not a building. Much goes on here in terms of the ministry to our church, the Diocese and in the world. We are making a difference in the lives of others. And it is that ongoing community of faith that is supported by our financial estate planning and by our financial giving.

Thank you !
Faithfully in The Risen Christ,
Father Ron