What is a columbarium?

Columbarium Niche

Each unit of the columbarium is a group of 25 compartments or “niches” designed to hold cremated remains (cremains) of deceased loved ones. Each niche is 8″ in diameter and 16″ deep and has the capacity to hold up to two urns. 

What is a memorial garden?

A memorial garden is a garden in which cremains are scattered and worked into the soil of a natural and landscaped space as a part of an interment service.

When is the project happening?

Current plans are for construction of the columbarium and memorial garden in the spring of 2018.


With direction from the congregation at the 2016 annual meeting, the Columbarium Team and the Church Council reviewed potential locations at Bethel for a columbarium with the design architect and the congregation. The many activities and users of the facilities were considered, and a beautiful design was created for a columbarium on the East Lawn.  It was decided that this would be the location of the columbarium and memorial garden at Bethel.

Other Facts about the Columbarium and Memorial Garden:

  • More than 50% of the population is choosing cremation. This has increased the demand for a columbarium in cemeteries as well as inspired many congregations to plan to build a columbarium on their own site.
  • It provides comfort to a family to have the final resting place of a deceased loved one within the church grounds.
  • It affirms our faith that those who die in the Christian faith join with the saints in light as well as the current worshipping faith community.
  • It is a visible sign that the church cares for its members from birth and baptism through death and the promises of eternal life.
  • It is theologically sound and environmentally friendly.

Project Financing

Funding for the columbarium/memorial garden is provided through the pre-sale of niches, memorial gifts, and any other donations specified for this project. The columbarium is self-supporting and not included in the Bethel general budget. There is a governing board (Columbarium Team) with bylaws and policies, to regulate, guide and communicate needs.

Who is eligible?

Bethel members, their families, former members of the congregation, Bethel staff, and others approved by the Columbarium Team are eligible for interment in the columbarium or memorial garden.

What is the cost?

$1,500: Double niche
$1,000: Single niche
$500: Memorial Garden

On March 1, 2018, the costs will be:
$1,800: Double niche
$1,200: Single niche
$600: Memorial Garden

Each niche is 8″ in diameter and 16″deep and has the capacity to hold up to two urns

What are the next steps if I am interested?

Contact a member of the Columbarium Team or inquire for further direction at the church office (507-288-6430). 

The Team:

Brian Ellsworth, President
Cheri Brinson, Treasurer
Linda Bakken, Secretary
Bruce Odenbach, Member at Large
Ardell Olson, Member at Large
Rev. Anjanette K. Bandel 

For more information contact:

Brian Ellsworth, Chair at bellsworth5591@gmail.com or Linda Bakken, Secretary bakken1@aol.com, 507-288-8602