The Columbarium at Shadyside

Image: Detail of a brass bas-relief sculpture by Virgil Cantini, which is the centerpiece of the Columbarium. Dedicated to Shadyside physician W.D. Richards, the artwork depicts the woman who touched the hem of Christ’s garment and was healed (Luke 8:43-48).
The Columbarium at Shadyside Presbyterian Church is a sacred and beautiful space for mortal remains to rest in the peace and permanence of our beloved church home.

“God of our life, through all the circling years . . . Our heart’s true home when all our years have sped.” — from the hymn, “God of Our Life,” text by the Reverend Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr, Pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church from 1913 to 1945

Christians have long desired the provision of space for the mortal remains of the faithful departed in or near their places of worship. Since the days of the catacombs, the ritual of burial on church property or in the church itself has been practiced in many countries, including the United States. It has the sanction of Christian churches, including the Presbyterian Church (USA).

In February 1994, the Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church authorized the creation of the Columbarium located in a portion of the Narthex to the Chapel. After three years of careful planning and construction, the project was completed and dedicated on All Saints’ Sunday, November 2, 1997.

The Columbarium contains more than 300 bronze memorial niches, each with a double capacity. The niches have been installed around a Virgil Cantini bronze bas-relief sculpture, which is the centerpiece of the room. The space provides a private, reverent area, appropriate for secure and dignified custody of urns. The softly lit room contains a prayer bench for meditation and reflection by family members and friends.

The Columbarium is available for use by Shadyside Church members and their families who choose this inurnment option. The installation of the Columbarium does not imply that cremation is preferred over other burial alternatives, nor is the church attempting to compete with cemeteries. This facility is for the convenience of those Shadyside families who desire to use it. Admission to non-members will be determined on an individual basis.

As designed, the Columbarium at Shadyside presents an atmosphere reminiscent of the traditional centuries-old churchyard burial place. A warm, reverent, and satisfying atmosphere will prevail at all times.

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If you would like more information regarding costs and location, please contact the church office.

The peaceful ambiance of the Columbarium provides a setting which invites quiet reflection and prayer, while offering the comfort of familiar well-loved church surroundings.