Terms of Purchase
RULES, POLICIES AND REGULATIONS OF GRACE GARDEN
Grace Garden is a columbarium located at The Woodlands United Methodist Church. It has been created to provide a space for the storing (‘inurnment’) of cremated remains (‘cremains’) of deceased church members and other eligible persons. Grace Garden is owned by The Woodlands United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc.
A. Columbarium Committee: (‘Committee’). The Committee is a committee of the Foundation which administers, operates and maintains Grace Garden under a delegation of authority from the Foundation.
B. Committee Functions. The Committee shall have the number of members authorized and appointed by the Foundation.
1. Subject to approval by the Foundation, adopt its own internal operating procedures.
2. Budget and recommend expenditures necessary for the proper administration, operation, and maintenance of Grace Garden.
3. Maintain all records and documentation relating to Grace Garden, and relating to or incident to the sale of rights of inurnment.
4. Generally administer, operate and maintain Grace Garden consistent with these Rules, Policies and Regulations.
III. ELIGIBILITY FOR INURNMENT
Inurnment in Grace Garden shall be limited to the cremains of any minister or past minister of The Woodlands UMC, member or past member of The Woodlands UMC, and members of any of the above immediate family. Members of immediate family shall include:
1. Spouse of the member or past member;
2. Parents, step-parents, grandparents or step-grandparents of the member or past member;
3. Children or step-children of the member or past member;
4. Spouses of children or step-children of the member or past member; and
5. Grandchildren or step-grandchildren of any member or past member.
The Foundation shall have the authority to approve or deny requests for the inurnments of any other relative of a member or past member, on a case-by-case basis. While pets are in important part of any family, we are not able to inurn animal cremains.
The Foundation shall have the authority to set the price for the purchase of a right of inurnment. The price of a right of inurnment shall include an urn that was specifically designed for the niche, costs associated with inurnment in Grace Garden, approved inscriptions on the niche and care of the Columbarium. It does not include the cost of cremation, transportation or other off-Church-premises costs. The Foundation may change the fee; however, any change in fee will not result in either an additional cost assessment to holders of rights of inurnment or reimbursement.
V. PURCHASE OF RIGHTS OF INURNMENT
The niches in Grace Garden have been and will be constructed with a capacity of two urns. A purchaser of a right of inurnment may choose whether to be placed in the same niche with a loved one or in an individual niche. To purchase a right of inurnment, an eligible person should obtain a Grace Garden packet from the Church office. A packet should contain a copy of these Rules, Policies and Regulations, a copy of an application, and any other applicable forms. The applicant should complete all of the requested forms and submit them to the Church office. When the application is approved, the new owner of a right of inurnment will be issued a copy of the approved application.
VI. SELECTION OF NICHES
Niches shall be assigned in the order that applications are received. The Application shall have a place for the Applicant to designate a preference for an available niche. In the instance the niche designated on an application is unavailable at the time the application is approved; the Application will be approved subject to the selection of an available niche.
VII. INURNMENT PROCEDURES
A. Services: Services are and shall remain the sole province of the Ministers of the Church.
B. Urns will be provided and included in the fee. If another urn is desired, it should be of a material and size approved by the Committee. The name of the deceased shall be affixed permanently to the urn.
C. Uniform Inscription on Niches. The Committee shall set a uniform size and style of inscription for the niches. The inscription shall be included in the price of the right of inurnment. Inscriptions shall contain the name of the deceased, the deceased’s date of birth and the deceased’s date of death.
VIII. FLOWERS AND DECORATIONS
The Committee may establish a policy on the placement of flowers or plants in the Grace Garden. The placement of any materials (including toys, signs, wreaths, ornaments, candles, or other decorations) within Grace Garden not approved in advance by the Committee may be removed and disposed of without notice to the owner or liability to the remover.
IX. OWNERS OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE CONTACT INFORMATION
The owner of a right of inurnment has an obligation to keep the Church notified concerning his or her current address and contact information. Neither the Church, the Foundation, nor the Committee shall bear any liability for any action taken without the consent of an owner of a right of inurnment if the contact information in the inurnment right owner’s file is not current.
X. TRANSFER OR ASSIGNMENT
A. Rights of Inurnment. Rights of inurnment are not transferable or assignable without proof of eligibility of the proposed new owner. The Committee reserves the right to repurchase Rights of Inurnment upon request for the price of purchase less $500 or the current price (whichever is lower), but such a repurchase is entirely optional.
B. Removal of Cremains. After inurnment, cremains remain the property of the heirs at law of the deceased unless the deceased provides otherwise in a valid will. Once cremains have been inurned, if removal of the cremains is desired by the owner of the cremains, the right of inurnment in that niche shall revert to the Foundation with no compensation due to the Owner of the cremains.
C. Niche use. No cremains may be inurned in any niche except as designated on the approved application form.
XI. LEGAL TITLE
The holder of an approved application reflecting purchase of a right of inurnment acquires no property rights in Grace Garden and acquires no property right in any of its niches or any of the Foundation, the Church or the Church’s property. Legal title to Grace Garden and all of its improvements shall be with the Foundation until and unless different ownership is desired by the Foundation. An approved application attests only to the right of inurnment for the cremains of the individual in the specific niche identified on the certificate. Identification of a specific niche creates no property right-it is done for the administrative purposes of the Foundation and the Committee. In the event of any discrepancy between an approved application and the records maintained by the Committee or Foundation, the latter shall govern.
XII. REMOVAL OF CREMAINS
A. By Grace Garden: In the event that the Columbarium requires repairs or other construction, the owner of a right of inurnment and his or her heirs, beneficiaries, and legal representatives agree that the Foundation or its Committee may permit the temporary removal for the duration of those repairs or construction. The owner of a right of inurnment further agrees to the provision in termination of the Columbarium, below.
B. By someone other than Grace Garden: Cremains may not be removed from Grace Garden without the written consent of (a) the Foundation or its Committee; and (b) the owner of the right of inurnment or his or her heirs, beneficiaries, and legal representatives. The rules stated in the section titled “Transfer or Assignment” shall apply also.
Grace Garden, the Foundation and its Committee have taken steps through the design and construction of the Columbarium to provide a reasonable level of security, balanced by the need for visits by loved ones and availability of the property for prayer and services. By making a purchase, the holder of a right of inurnment, and his or her heirs, beneficiaries, and legal representatives assume the risk of loss, destruction, vandalism, and desecration of cremains. By making a purchase, the holder of a right of inurnment and his or her heirs, beneficiaries, and legal representatives further release The Woodlands United Methodist Church and its employees, and The Woodlands United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc. and its directors, officers, agents, employees, committees, volunteers, and representatives from all claims, liability, and causes of action, relating to or pertaining to the application, inurnment, and the past, present and future operation of Grace Garden, including all negligence, loss, destruction, vandalism, and desecration of cremains, save and except for acts of gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing and in no event shall they corporately or individually be liable for any damage to the purchase of his/her relatives or heirs beyond the purchase price of the right of inurnment.
XIV. TERMINATION OF THE COLUMBARIUM
The Right of Inurnment shall continue so long as the property at 2200 Lake Woodlands Drive is owned by The United Methodist Church or The Woodlands United Methodist Church or one of their legal successors. If the property is sold and a replacement Columbarium will not be furnished at a new church premises or other site, the right of inurnment will cease. In that event, the Foundation or its committee will notify the owner or his or her heirs, beneficiaries, and legal representatives at the address contained in the Columbarium files that Grace Garden is ceasing to exist and that the cremains must be removed from the niche. If arrangements for the removal of the cremains are not made within a reasonable period, or if a proper representative cannot be contacted with a reasonable time, the Church retains the right, and the Purchaser and his or her heirs and representative consent to the Church’s right, to take possession of and title to the cremains, and relocate the cremains, or disburse the cremains on the property in a fitting service as it deems proper. No refund of any amount for purchase of inurnment rights shall be made in the instance of termination of the columbarium.
XV. PERSONAL CONDUCT IN GRACE GARDEN
Grace Garden is on or adjacent to The Woodlands UMC premises, and all persons in the Grace Garden are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with customary good decorum as normally observed in a church. Any Minister, staff member or employee of The Woodlands UMC or member of the Committee is empowered to enforce these Rules, Policies and Regulations and to exclude from Grace Garden any person(s) violating these Rules, Policies and Regulations.
The Church or the Foundation may carry insurance for its own benefit regarding the Columbarium, as it sees fit; however, there is no obligation upon either to carry insurance or to provide any insurance for the benefit of any holder of a right of inurnment or his or her heirs, beneficiaries, and legal representatives.
XVII. AMENDMENT OR WAIVER
Amendment: After initial adoption by the Foundation, and during the existence of the Committee, the Committee may at any time recommend to the Foundation amendments to these Rules, Policies and Regulations. No such amendment shall take place unless affirmatively approved by the Board of Directors of the Foundation.
I have received, read, and understand the Rules, Policies, and Regulations of Grace Garden noted above; as existing now and/or which may exist in the future as a part of this Application; and I agree to abide by them.
I hereby release The Woodlands United Methodist Church and its' employees, and The Woodlands United Methodist Church Foundation and its' directors, officers, agents, employees, committees, volunteers, and representatives from all claims, liability, and causes of action, relating to or pertaining to this application, and the past, present, and future operation of Grade Garden, including all negligence, loss, destruction, vandalism, save and except for acts of gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing, and in no event shall they corporately or individually be liable for any damages to me or my relatives or heirs beyond the purchase price of the right of inurnment.