The History of the Columbarium at Sunrise Presbyterian Church

In the beginning ... Interest in having a columbarium at Sunrise Presbyterian Church first surfaced in Autumn of 2002. The idea was brought to the Memorial Committee; Jim Hickey�as a member of that committee -- volunteered to do research into the level of interest among church members as well as into the costs associated with developing a columbarium on church grounds. Under Jim's guidance, the Memorial Committee sent out a letter to all members of the congregation about the possibility of having a columbarium. The letter solicited responses which made it clear that�except for a few couples�the time was not right for the church to undertake this project. The biggest reason: “There are other things the church needs at this point.”

Wilderness Years ... “Other things the church needs” including installing an elevator and remodeling the church kitchen were addressed and paid for between 2004 and 2008. Throughout this time, interest in the columbarium never completely went away. Three or four couples kept the idea before the leaders of the congregation. And as the landmark projects were completed, it was decided to take another look into the idea of a columbarium. Again, Jim Hickey was in the forefront of this effort.

A time for every matter ... In the Summer of 2008, a Columbarium Committee was established. ed by Jim Hickey, Ben Forsyth, Jerry Miller, and Don Roehm, the Committee researched other churches that had columbariums, looked at civil and legal regulations that would impact having a columbarium on our church campus, and drafted a proposed set of columbarium rules and regulations.

At the September Session meeting, the Columbarium Committee presented its report to Session, describing rules, costs, implications for the church should we decide to go ahead with it. The Session received and approved the report. It also decided that the columbarium structure would be purchased when half of the money ($10,000 out of $20,000) was at hand through the sale of niches.

The congregation was informed of this decision through articles in the newsletter and Sunday bulletins as well as displays in the narthex and moments for mission given by members of the Columbarium Committee. The cost of the project, the price schedule for niches, rules/regulations were all part of the information that was shared. A draft design of the Columbarium was also shown to the congregation. Interested members were encouraged to take applications and complete them and include their niche payment.

Our time in God's hands ... In December of 2008, members submitted the first applications for niches. On December 13, just as the idea for having a columbarium was finally gaining momentum, Jim Hickey died after a brief illness. Right to the time of his death he was working on this project. His leadership was sorely missed by everyone who knew of the hard work, devotion, and commitment he had given to making this idea into reality.

Early in 2009, the $10,000 threshold was crossed. The Session voted to order the Columbarium. In addition, it voted to give one of the niches to Jim and Ruth Hickey in recognition for all the work Jim had done on this project. A second motion was approved to officially name the columbarium “The James L. Hickey Memorial Columbarium.”

On the Lord's Day of this Memorial Day Weekend, May 25, 2014, we dedicate our columbarium in Jim’s memory.