Sunday Worship: 8:30, 9:40, & 11 a.m.


Job Opportunity


A columbarium is a vault (or niche) that contains the “inurned” ashes or “cremains” of the cremated bodies of loved ones. The GUMC Columbarium niches – permanent containers for cremated remains — are designed to hold one or two loved ones.  In addition, two memorial walls will display permanent names of other loved ones who may be inurned in other Columbarium’s or buried traditionally in other locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Germantown United Methodist Church Columbarium located?

The GUMC Columbarium is located in the GUMC-owned McVay Gardens area, located on McVay Road, directly behind the Owings Life Enrichment Center.

It is situated in our park-like setting, facing north, between the soon-to-be refurbished McVay Cemetery and the recently refurbished McVay House, current home of the McVay Gardens Counseling Center and other Germantown UMC ministries.

While the initial phase of the Columbarium will provide more than adequate space for many years to come, the location provides room for expansion over many generations.  Germantown United Methodist Church has made a definitive commitment to its current location for many generations to come. In the distant future, should the church change locations for any reason, the Columbarium is designed to be relocated if and when necessary.

What does the McVay Gardens Columbarium offer GUMC Members?

• Significant savings on funeral costs
• Support and the ability to remain at your own home church
• Elimination of last-minute funeral arrangements
• Advance service planning with your pastor
• Convenient, private visits for family members

When a member reserves a niche, he/she assures family members that when death occurs, there will be no need to address the unnecessary costs associated with mortuaries and cemeteries. The only necessary arrangements will be cremation.

After church services, the family may now visit and reflect at the final resting place of their loved one without having to travel to secular, often distant cemetery. More importantly, Germantown United Methodist Church fulfills its age-old obligation to members by offering them the ability to extend their relationship with their church to include a final homecoming.

How does a Columbarium fit within the Christian faith?

Historically, Christians have regarded burning as a proper and reverent way of disposing of objects which are blessed.  We understand ourselves to the blessed children of God through our Baptism.  The practice of cremation has existed for thousands of years, but has become more common among Christians since the nineteenth century.  Contrary to popular notions about cremation, the body is not actually burned during the process, but rather is heated so that water evaporates; leaving on the solid matter.  Thus, cremation simply speeds the natural process that take place after death.  Since there is little difference between cremains and the remains of one who has been buried traditionally, more and more Christians believe there is little reason to favor one method of committal over the other . . . from a theological point of view.

While some other mainline denominations have made statements that cremation is acceptable in their tradition, there is no official view within the United Methodist Church on the subject of cremation, except for what follows from the website of the United Methodist Church.

Our doctrinal statements, then, affirm the bodily resurrection of Jesus, indeed the resurrection of the same body that entered the tomb.  But for believers, many of whose bodies over the past two thousand years may have entirely decomposed, if there were not burned, lost at sea, or otherwise destroyed, our statements speak simply of the resurrection of “the dead.”  This is consistent not only with biology, but also with the teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.  There, Paul insist that resurrection is real, necessary, and more than a matter of revivifying dead bodies or remains.  Instead, he speaks of a spiritual body that is raised of which our perishable, corruptible bodies are at most but the seed (see especially verses 35-49).

…United Methodist do not insist upon burial as the only appropriate means of committing our earthly remains to God, and so are generally open to cremation as a viable alternative.  Ultimately, this is a decision that will be in the context of the individual, families and cultural norms involved.