Church offers plan to let Westminster rest in peace

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 1/8/20

There is good news emanating from the Westminster Presbyterian Church. For some, it will fulfill a quest which has gone unheeded for many years. For others, it may be of interest while the remainder …

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Church offers plan to let Westminster rest in peace

Posted

There is good news emanating from the Westminster Presbyterian Church. For some, it will fulfill a quest which has gone unheeded for many years. For others, it may be of interest while the remainder of folks will likely be indifferent - for now, at least.

The topic of where each of us want to be buried or have our ashes deposited is as diverse as many other things to discuss or ponder. However, for the past 20-plus years, I have been focused on the importance of having the option to be “laid to rest” in Westminster.

In part, this was due to a very special person in my life that said to me that she wanted to be buried in Westminster when that time came. You may not be surprised that long-time resident and former Westminster Mayor Vi June had said that to me with a lot of emotion in her voice.

Finally, a Westminster option

Thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of Bob Briggs, a long-time Westminster resident and member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, the church will be offering church members, former church members and Westminster residents the opportunity to have their ashes deposited in an attractive crypt located in Westminster. The church has received all the necessary approvals to establish a columbarium on church property located at 74th Avenue and Bradburn Boulevard.

For those who are not familiar with the term columbarium, it is a final resting place for people’s ashes. Two urns can be accommodated in each crypt with appropriate engraving on the face of the crypt and 48 crypts are contained in each stand-alone unit.

Columbarium ready to move forward

According to Briggs, the initial 48 crypt unit will be installed and unveiled by the end of the first quarter in 2020.

He tells me that plans are underway for advance publicity and an official ribbon-cutting. For present or former church members, the cost of a two-urn crypt or niche is $2,000. For non-Westminster Presbyterian Church individuals, the cost will be $4,000 per crypt. The site plan accommodates four 48-crypt units with benches, flowering plants and a six-foot high fence which defines the columbarium.

RIP has not been an option in Westminster

You currently cannot be buried nor have your ashes deposited in a cemetery or memory garden in Westminster. While there is the Wesleyan Chapel Cemetery located on the northeast corner of 120th Avenue and Huron Street — which is in Westminster — no one is allowed to be buried or have their ashes deposited there.

The City of Westminster negotiated the acquisition of the cemetery approximately 20 years ago with the idea of outsourcing the marketing and selling of plots to an established, well-known mortuary.

Unfortunately, I retired from my City Manager’s position before the concept was finalized. Subsequently, the two city managers who have followed me have shown little interest in the concept or indicated it was not doable at that site.

City needs to re-think their position

So, while the church’s plan does not include body burial, it does provide the opportunity for a final resting place for those who wish to have their ashes deposited after cremation. This raises the policy question for the Westminster City Council to evaluate the former concept of accommodating Westminster residents to have their final resting place to be in the Wesleyan Chapel Cemetery.

For some reason, the City of Westminster is currently spending $200,000 to improve the image of the cemetery. There are brick pillars now in place with more improvements to come. However, it’s a lot like getting all dressed up and nowhere to go. The city still will not allow anyone to be buried there or have their remains deposited there.

It’s time to reconsider this opportunity folks.

Mark your calendars

The Metro North Arts Alliance is again this year sponsoring the Adams County Honors Music Festival. The top musicians from the various Adams County high schools will perform at 4 p.m. January 18th at Westminster High School. It is open to the public at no cost. Come hear the best in orchestra, band and choral performances.

Did anyone pay attention to the congressional spending bill?

With the impeachment of President Trump swirling around in December, several otherwise headline actions by Congress got little attention. One of those normal “above the fold” headlines had to do with Congressional action on avoiding another federal government shutdown.

On December 19th, the U.S. Senate passed spending bills which will fund the federal government through Sept. 30. The House members had already approved the bills and President Trump subsequently signed them into law.

While it was news-worthy that the nation avoided the shut-down of federal agencies, the real story had to do with another ill-thought out generous spending bill.

Both Republicans and Democrats were separately touting their favorite parts of a whopping $1.4 trillion appropriations package. It was another classic example of “if you give me my priority spending items, I will support your priority items.”

Neither party showed any fiscal constraint

The Republicans wanted and achieved more defense spending to the tune of an additional $22 billion along with a 3.1% raise for military personnel. Funding for the President’s Mexican Border Wall was again funded at the $1.4 billion level which caused some Democrats to vote against the spending package.

The Democrats wanted and gained increased domestic spending which included $25 million toward federal gun violence research and $425 million for election security grants for the upcoming 2020 Presidential election.

A set of key provisions repealed a variety of health care-related levies from Obamacare. While this might be seen as progress to some, it could add half-a trillion dollars additional federal debt over a decade, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

America will have to pay the piper

The whole budget process makes me ask where does this all end?

The Republicans historically were the party of spending limitations and watching the federal debt. With Trump setting the direction and tone of the budget, the Republicans are now just as bad at fiscal responsibility as the Democrats. It’s like a fairy tale. Let’s just print more money and borrow from others. We just keep getting deeper in debt. It is like a huge python snake which gradually chokes us to death.

Happier days are not ahead for us.

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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