Columbarium celebrates lives

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, October 15, 2020

All Saints’ Anglican Church’s new columbarium invites celebration of life. Collage by Warren Harbeck, columbarium image courtesy Sunset Memorial & Stone Ltd.

Ah, how we love celebrating autumn! Aromatic walks among golden leaves fill our memories and scrapbooks. How much more, then, do we have reasons to celebrate the lives of those whose physical journey with us is over, but their legacy of love and beauty lives on.

That, says Rev. Greg Clark, Incumbent Priest at Cochrane’s All Saints’ Anglican Parish, is more than enough reason for having sites and services for the celebration of life. “We need to honour our deceased,” he says. “We want to provide a way and a place to do that out of a conviction that human life is sacred.”

Referring to his church’s tradition on All Saints Day, he adds: “While our culture understandably struggles with the reality of death, we Christians publicly and without fear name those whom we have loved, in God’s presence.”

But All Saints’ Anglican Church is going even further. At 3:45 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 8, they will be consecrating the Bishop Ford Memorial Garden & Columbarium. Located on the southwest corner of the church property above Bow Valley Trail at 4th Ave. N., the centerpiece of the garden is a 72-niche granite columbarium for holding the urns of loved ones amidst dignity-affirming beauty. It will be available to all in the community, not just members of All Saints.

Project Co-coordinator Ruth-Anne Marley says:

One of the main purposes of the project is to help rebuild the awareness in our community around the sanctity of human life – that all life has meaning and value.

“When someone dies they leave a legacy of memories which are treasures for current and future generations. By building the garden we are providing a place where people can reflect on, share memories of, and spend time in the presence of loved ones.”

The columbarium is situated in a garden, she says, because of the connection of humanity with gardens “from the Garden of Eden to The Garden of Gethsemane and finally, thanks to the Resurrection, in the Paradise of the Lord’s Garden with all those who have gone before and who will come after.”

The Resurrection? How appropriate it is that this memorial garden is only a few steps from where I photographed a crocus on Easter morning, 2007! Another name for the crocus is the Resurrection Flower! Blooms both spring and autumn! Yes, All Saints’ Anglican is celebrating the beauty of lives from their springtime to autumn in the hope of life after death and our reunion with them.


© 2020 Warren Harbeck

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