St. Paul’s, as part of its Centennial celebration in 2006 planned and constructed a new Memorial Garden. Located within the wrought iron fence at the southeast corner of the church is a “multi-purpose” area that is utilized for occasional outdoor services, weddings, birthday parties and musical concerts among other things. In addition to the very well planned landscaping elements the area includes a gazebo with benches to accommodate quiet reading time and meetings for folks from the Sparks Library across the way, a water fountain that runs continuously Spring through Fall affording a serene sound of calmness. The garden also has a Lych Gate entry, a tradition of the British culture, and we believe it to be one of the very few in the western United States.
In the summer of 2016, The Garden was dedicated in memory of one of its visionaries and creators, Mr. Gene Carse.
Supplementing the Lych Gate entry, there is a gate at the northeast corner of the fence and one at the southwest corner. All of these accesses are open around the clock throughout the year. There is a paver area that will accommodate seating for approximately 90 with adjoining “stage” space. There is also a large granite space mounted to the Parish Hall wall that we use to remember the babies of our members that have passed to the arms of the Lord.
Within the garden area there is also a columbarium along the wall of the church building and two granite freestanding columbaria located in the southeast corner of the garden. All of our Columbarium niches are non-denominational and all the faceplates are uniform to their respective units. This brings a peaceful symmetry to the overall concept of the garden.
Niches in the Columbaria are for sale to the general public.
Columbaria Frequently Asked Questions
St. Paul’s is blessed with the privilege of being able to offer for sale to the general public, non-denominational columbarium niches in two styles, “freestanding” in granite units with highly polished black faceplates and “along the wall” in bronze with bronze faceplates. We believe pre-planning these matters has many advantages, such as putting you in control of a major part of the costs involved at end of life as well as reducing the stress of family and loved ones at a time of deep emotion. Having a niche also provides a place for loved ones to visit when so desired. To this end, we offer the following “frequently asked questions”
1. What exactly is a Columbarium?
From the Latin word, devecote, a columbarium is a structure consisting of a series of niches within a vault or along a wall, recessed to accommodate the cremated remains of the dead.
2. Who may purchase a niche in your Columbarium?
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Sparks offers for sale, niches to the general public at a current price of $1500.00 per niche (accommodates one person’s cremains).
4. How are these prices set?
The Vestry (Board of Directors), after careful consideration as to the area market prices as well as other criteria such as maintenance etc. determines the price of a niche. This is reviewed from time to time and adjustments may be made without notice.
5. Is any portion of the purchase price tax deductible?
St. Paul’s does not offer tax advice. Please consult with your tax advisor to address this issue.
6. Will there be extra costs at interment?
Interment of the ashes into the niche is included in the purchase price. It should be noted that the niches along the wall have a special container that holds the ashes therefore an urn (other than temporary) is not necessary. The freestanding niches are Companion niches measuring 12″x12″x12″clear, intended to hold two urns. The type of urn is your choice and would be normally handled at the time of cremation. The only criteria is that the urn must be made of a permanent material as the niches are not air tight. If the desire is to have a memorial and/or commitment service, contact the St. Paul’s office. 775-358-4474. Other costs to you are the expenses of the cremation itself and possibly other expenses incurred at the crematory of your choice.
8. What types of decorations/flowers can I place on the niche?
St. Paul’s Columbarium Policy approved by the Vestry states:
1. In-ground vases are provided for the entire columbarium; therefore your flowers may or may not be in front of a specific columbarium niche.
2. Any flowers or other adornments can be removed at St. Paul’s sole discretion.
It is customary, if there has been a service involved where wreaths have been gifted, that they may be placed near the niche for a period of not more than one week. St. Paul’s has a Columbarium team that oversees and maintains the area and will dispose of them when appropriate. The team also provides “appropriate to the season” artificial floral arrangements in each of the containers year round. St. Paul’s encourages that in lieu of flowers, a contribution to the deceased’s favorite charity or to St. Paul’s Memorial Fund be made. Contributions to St. Paul’s of $100.00 or more will provide for a leaf in memory of the deceased on our Tree of Life located in the Narthex (foyer) of the church.
9. How is the Columbarium administered?
St. Paul’s has a small Columbarium Team that acts under the guidance of the Rector and Vestry and deals with all matters regarding columbarium activity including record keeping and maintenance of the entire Memorial Garden.
10. What records are maintained?
A hard copy of the contract, the death certificate, interment date and other paperwork related to the deceased is kept in the church files. Electronic copies of much of this data is also kept in the computers. In addition, if a service is performed by St. Paul’s clergy an entry is made into certain official church record books.
11. Can I specify a desired location of the niche?
At the time purchase we will make an appointment with you to do a walk-through in the garden to pick the available niche you desire. All niches are mapped and the chosen niche number will be on the contract.
12. What personal identification appears on the faceplate?
The last name, first name and middle name or initial along with the year of birth and year of death are the only things allowed on any our faceplates. The minimal decorations on the faceplates are all the same for their type.
13. Can I resell the niche?
No. It is agreed in the purchase contract that neither the buyer nor their heirs are acquiring any property interest or rights to the columbarium or any niche. Columbaria are not real estate.
14. Can I reassign who is to be placed in the niche?
Yes. Prior to any ashes being interred in the niche the contract holder may reassign who may be placed in the niche. There is a “consent to assignment” provision on page one of the contract.
15. Can ashes be removed once interred?
Sometimes there are circumstances where the buyer has the desire to remove the deceased ashes such as moving across the country and wanting the ashes close by. This can be considered by St. Paul’s and if agreed to by all parties, an Indemnity and Hold Harmless Agreement can be signed and the ashes taken. The buyer is responsible for any and all paperwork that may be required by the government for transporting the ashes and the buyer forfeits all rights to the niche.
16. Can I or my loved ones visit the niche outside of Church hours?
Yes, upon request.
17. What is the process to purchase a niche?
Contact the church office 775-358-4474 or [email protected] to obtain an information packet which includes a sample contract, an application form, St. Paul’s official Policy regarding the Columbarium and some other papers and forms not addressed in this FAQ section.