Over the centuries, Christians have laid the dead to rest in churches, where they are remembered and their remains safeguarded. Burial within the church itself, or in the adjacent churchyard was once a common practice.
In recent years, cremation with interment of the ashes, rather than burial, has become more common. In this way, the remains of the deceased can stay on at the church that played such an important part in their lives.
In keeping with this tradition, St. Mary's offers the opportunity for parishioners’ ashes and those of their loved ones to repose in the tranquil, contemplative atmosphere of our inner courtyard. This is a unique ministry in San Francisco, as there are very few cemeteries within the City, and few columbaria located out of doors. Designed by parishioner Bruce Prescott, AIA, the Columbarium at the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin incorporates 145 niches, each sized to accommodate up to two urns, depending on their size and shape.
Because of church rules regulating ownership of church property, subscribers are technically granted a permanent "use permit" rather than actual ownership of their selected niches. Niches are selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
Subscriptions are offered at a cost of $4,000 each, which covers the cost of the niche, the stone name plaque, and perpetual care. The niche subscription may be paid in total, or in quarterly (3-month) increments of $500, payable to the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
At the time of interment, an additional $500 charge will be assessed to cover the costs of opening and re-sealing the niche and the engraving on the stone name plaque. The family of the deceased will provide the appropriate urn for each person interred. A subsequent charge of $500 will be assessed for similar services accompanying the interment of an additional urn at a later date.
I invite you to review the attached questions and answers, niche reservation form, and contract. If you wish to subscribe, please complete the reservation form, include your check or money order payable to the “Episcopal Church of St Mary the Virgin” (memo: Columbarium), and return to the church marking the envelope “ATTN: Columbarium.”
If you are interested in subscribing and have any questions, please contact the church office , at (415) 921-3665.