Letter: Please Support The Columbarium Project

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Whether or not you’re planning on voting for RSFA Board members, please vote on this question. Whether or not this Covenant modification passes, it would be nice to see substantial community participation in this Covenant vote – editor.

I am writing today to ask for the support of Rancho Santa Fe residents in helping The Village Church continue and expand its tradition of service within our community as we vote on the proposed amendment to our covenant that would allow us to build a columbarium.

For 64 years, the Village Church has sought to be a valued and valuable institution in our special town.  We offer spiritual education, guidance, and support to all, regardless of whether they are official members or not.  Our church campus often serves as a meeting place for community groups and events.  It is our privilege to provide worship services to mark the significant events of life, including weddings and funerals.  We have grown along with the community and hope to continue this role for years to come.

As part of this growth we hope to build a columbarium within the church campus itself.  Since churches began to build structures to support their ministries (as early as the 3rd century) they have also provided burial places to honor and remember their dead.  We wish to continue this form of service to our entire community.  Rancho Santa Fe is rightly proud of its history, and part of that history includes remembering those who have come before us.

The columbarium will be entirely contained within church walls and invisible from outside.  It will be a garden where people can reflect and pray.  The outward appearance (from within the garden itself) will be nothing more than several low walls with simple name and date plaques attached to niches where cremains are kept.  It is not a crematorium – a place where human remains are incinerated.  It will allow families to have a place within the same community where they have lived where they can celebrate their loved ones’ lives.  The profit from this enterprise will be entirely spiritual.

I believe the original intent of the Covenant was to prohibit large and publicly intrusive structures – which is what columbariums usually were in the 1920s.  Nor did residents want to live adjacent to a field of headstones.  What we propose is entirely different.

What we need now is for every member of our beloved community to vote in favor of the proposed modification.  A super-majority vote is required, meaning that everyone needs to vote.  Some who vote will do so from personal interest, others because of your commitment to the broader good.  In any case, your favorable vote will do nothing but add to the many wonderful and meaningful aspects of life within our community and to rich legacy that we leave behind for future generations.

The Rev. Dr. Jack W. Baca,
Senior Pastor
Village Church