First United Methodist Church’s columbarium was a community project
By Quinton Arthur
LANSING, Ill. (February 19, 2021) – Near the end of 2020, First United Methodist Church established a new structure on its grounds, known as a columbarium. The black, monolithic box was no small feat to raise, but with the help of Chicago’s Finest Ironworks and other community members, the columbarium is now ready to respectfully honor the dead.
Respectful to the dead, easier for the living
A columbarium is a structure for the public storage of funerary urns, which contain the cremated remains of the deceased. The structure is intended to display the remains in a respectful way.
For David Price, Pastor of First United Methodist Church, using the columbarium is a proper way for family members to say goodbye to their loved ones. “Instead of having a mausoleum or cemetery plot, families can come back to the church to honor their loved ones,” he said.
Price said he has noticed cremations are becoming more commonplace, many times with families keeping the remains at home. The columbarium affords families an alternate way to store the remains of loved ones, especially during a pandemic where many families are limited in how they have memorial services.
Bringing a columbarium to FUMC
In response to the pandemic, the church has adapted to having outdoor services in their parking lot, adhering to social distancing guidelines, and proper PPE usage.
Price has been a resident of Lansing since he and his family moved in 1968. He served as the associate pastor of First United Methodist in the early 1990s, and has served as the senior pastor since 2016.
Church member Bob Wood regularly works on the church grounds, and reached out to Brian Hardy at Chicago’s Finest Ironworks to help move the columbarium, which weighs over a ton. Through the use of Hardy’s forklift and the efforts of several parishioners at the church, they were safely able to put the structure in its place.
Chicago’s Finest Ironworks
For Hardy, it was a rewarding experience to assist. “The church has always done an amazing job on giving back, so it was gratifying for me to give back to them,” he said.
This was one of the more interesting requests Hardy has received, he said. Chicago’s Finest Ironworks also helped TF South build and secure the poles for netting at the high school’s baseball field.
The ironworks company was started in 1988 by Hardy and his business partner John Micun, who both decided to venture out on their own after working for a small iron firm. They rented a small unit working with iron products such as iron fences, railing and spiral staircases.
Today, at their established location at 17564 Chicago Avenue in Lansing, Chicago’s Finest Ironworks continues to serve Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. All orders are custom, made to order, and installed by the company.
A project for the community
As Hardy reflected on serving the Lansing community both as a Village trustee and business owner, he said, “Lansing is a community about helping each other in a time of need.”
Pastor Price is excited for the benefits the columbarium will bring to the Lansing community, especially during the pandemic. “We are going to get to the other side of this and there is a light at the end of tunnel,” he said.
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