St Mary's Anglican Church parishioners celebrate columbarium opening

officially open:  Anglican Bishop of Newcastle Gregory Thompson and Father Chris Butterworth bless the new columbarium.
 	Picture by CATH BOWEN 150215CB157

officially open: Anglican Bishop of Newcastle Gregory Thompson and Father Chris Butterworth bless the new columbarium. Picture by CATH BOWEN 150215CB157

St Mary’s Anglican Church at Maitland has a new columbarium after 20 years of planning.

A columbarium is a place of remembrance and for the storage of cremated remains.

The congregation of about 100 people gathered on Sunday for the opening.

A mass was held, followed by a champagne brunch.

Newcastle Diocese Bishop Greg Thompson made the trip to Maitland to consecrate the site with Father Chris Butterworth.

“It is a great privilege to be here today,” Bishop Thompson said.

“I had a great, great-grandfather from Maitland who died in 1854.

“I know the importance of having somewhere to remember those who have lived and served the community.”

The congregation raised more than $100,000 for the columbarium, which took three months to build.

All of the memorials in the old columbarium, situated next to the church, will be moved to the new one.

The plan is to knock down the old columbarium to increase air flow below the church and stop the dampness.

“This is a long-term project,” Father Butterworth said. “It has been a community effort and has been beautifully finished.”

This part of the columbarium is just stage one, with the possibility to extend the walls when more space is needed. A mural will also be painted on the main wall and flower holders will be installed.

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