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Residents protest potential columbarium at Danville church

Original post made on Jul 25, 2012

Nearly 60 residents convened at Peace Lutheran Church Monday evening to voice concerns about a potential columbarium at the church's memorial garden. Set north of PLC's labyrinth across from its preschool, the columbarium will be a space for the public storage of cinerary urns.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 1:52 PM

Comments (42)

Posted by William
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 6:41 am

This is the height of NIMBY. Comment like, "Another Terraces resident said part of his family would be unable to visit him at is home because of his proximity to the columbarium." If this is true, too bad, maybe live in a community that doesn't hold archaic, fear driven myths due to religious ideology. I certainly haven't heard of a drop off in property values near St. Tim's or the part of Diablo adjacent to it. Sounds like much ado about nothing born out of irrational fears and ignorance.

Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 25, 2012 at 7:09 am

Property values would suffer? Are they kidding?! St Tim's has such a wall and people are dying to move-in there!

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 8:17 am

All fine and good, but if you lived in proximity, whether you approve or not, the fact remains, property values will be negatively impacted and traffic would increase. Comparing to St. Timothy's off Diablo Road is a weak argument. You can't see the columbarium from the street, it is well hidden and it is a much bigger site. Don't tell me that people visiting this proposed smaller site wouldn't drive there. Of course they would. And, at capacity, it would be a busy place on most weekends. It is a total disregard for residents in the area by the church and its leaders. They might feel differently if it were being built in their own neighborhood.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 8:43 am

1. Work hard.

2. Save your money.

3. Move to Danville.

4. Spend the rest of your life living in irrational fear that everybody wants to take your money.

Pathetic existence.

Posted by MA
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

What a beautiful, peaceful tribute to members of our community. I think it is a great idea and one that is sorely needed in this Valley. We hide death as if it doesn't exist. It is part of the circle of life and we should not ignore it but embrace it and treasure our loved ones who have died with a beautiful memorial.

Posted by SM
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

Talk about weak arguments... Traffic? Seriously? Not a lot of coming & going. $100K property loss near a cemetery? Yeah, maybe - only this is nothing like a cemetery. Relatives can't visit? Makes me wonder what the exclusion zone for their belief system is: 100 yards, 500? A mile? That must make travel planning a real challenge. Do their GPS systems have an 'avoid death spots' feature?

Posted by Linda
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 9:38 am

This is a Church thing - and a God thing. If you don't like it - don't go. It's on Church property, and there's nothing bad about it - we all die. It's great that the Church wants to have a place where their Church-family can remain, and loved ones can visit.
Traffic? Give me a break!
Property Values? "
Let God reside in all of us - peace.

Posted by Bad idea!
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 9:48 am

As a 35-year resident of Danville who lives near this church (and has lived in other parts of town as well), I don't believe there would be such strong objections to such a structure if it was proposed to be built by an established, well-attended church that is able to attract the actual residents of the surrounding neighborhoods to worship there. That is not the case with this church. St. Tim's did this, CPC or St. Isidore's probably could; I would have no objection to an established mosque or synagogue in Danville creating some type of memorial structure either. But this church for the most part doesn't have the support of the surrounding community and the neighborhood residents don't feel a positive connection with it. The church is constantly hanging vinyl signs that we are all bombarded with when we turn into our street, it is hard to get a feel for what they're even doing- one week they'll advertise "Animal Blessings" and another it will be a Korean church thing or something else that doesn't exhibit any kind of consistent message about what they stand for. A couple years ago they stuck a neon sign on the front saying "No Vacancy" which made the church look like a hotel. Now they have a school in there too. Fine, but without the support of the surrounding community, they should not be permitted to commercialize the place even more. Plus, there is already a problem with teens drinking and loitering in the exact area where this is proposed to be built. It would be vandalized, for sure. And I can't imagine anyone would want that!

Posted by William
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 9:54 am


I live by St Tim's and there is no additional traffic on weekends other than Sunday service due to this tasteful columbium. The real estate values have not gone down. St. Tim's does not disregard our neighborhood nor does Peace Lutheran Church. To oppose this is just irrational fears and for some borders on mental illness. Referring to the comment that one commenter could not have his relatives visit due to fear of ashes?

Posted by MA
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

The negative reaction is a perfect example of the common American belief that death is optional.

Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Jul 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

I can tell you from personal experience the columbarium at St. Tim's is an exceptionally quiet place that has not generated the slightest bit of extra traffic. As a parishioner I supported it's construction and we all felt is was a welcome and comforting addition to our church.
I would like to know which realtor opined the adjacent home values would drop $100,000...I want to make sure I do not use his or her services as I seriously doubt that comment has any merit in this case. As to the fear that relatives would no longer visit their family members in the area I am reminded of the actor Lou Gossett's line to Levar Burton in the TV movie "ROOTS"...."Kunta, you in America in America now Kunta"....
I hope the city of Danville realizes those strident opponents are not expressing the feeling of most of us.

Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 25, 2012 at 11:38 am

Madame Editor: will you kindly keep this on-line community informed about this "issue" as it moves along? If there's a hearing, I think there will be quite a few of us who want to attend -- just so we can see what idiocy looks like, in the flesh.


Posted by Tim
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I suspect the majority of these comments are made by people who are not neighboring residents of this particular church so don't see the advertising and activities done by it on a day-to-day basis. "Bad idea" above is right. The church has various different groups coming in, renting its facilities or whatever arrangement they have, plus sending out different messages with their continuous changing signage, and I think many people just don't trust the place.

Surely many of us who live nearby would love to attend a neighborhood church- so then why is Peace's congregation all coming from elsewhere and they can't manage to get neighboring residents interested?

I think people are complaining about property values and traffic as more acceptable PC arguments, but I think at the core, there is a general distrust in the surrounding community of any plans this church may make to build or expand ANY of its activities.

Posted by Resident.
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:03 am

"I see dead people."

Posted by Gio Pardee
a resident of Danville
on Jul 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Tim'll take Passive Aggression for $200, Alex.

Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I guess I am now glad I do not live in The Terraces or other developments you folks that "live close by but do not support this church" are living in. We have members at St. Tim's from all over the East Bay and that is not viewed as a weakness in our parish. I am not catholic but I grew up across the street from one of the largest catholic parishes in my hometown and I could care less about the rectory being across the street from my house. Your opposition puzzles me...

Posted by tango
a resident of Danville
on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:05 am

We are debating a tasteful columbium ? Seriously ? Property values diminished ? Increased traffic ? This can only happen in the Danville " bubble " Time to move to the real world !

Posted by maggie
a resident of Danville
on Jul 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I live in the neighborhood down Old Blackhawk Road. I am not a member of the Church. I am saddened to see comments that are of a 'personal' nature against Peace Lutheran Church. Just because the beliefs and/or mission of this Church and it's members may not coincide with one's own beliefs, it is unnecessary to attack the Church. When I last checked, we have freedom of religion here in the United States! I think the Church is just acting like a Church should.....opening their meeting rooms to local groups....let the Korean church worship there, since they have no physical a pre-school that is enjoyed by parents in the immediate area....allow the church to be used as a voting place. In my opinion, these are community assets not liabilities and activities that are expected when you live near a Church. I think a columbarium may bring peace of mind to families who desire to have their deceased loved ones close by. How nice to be able to have that option available. Look-- this is Danville and here "money talks". Folks will say whatever they can and bring up all kinds of sketchy excuses in order muddy the issue, eg-death wall; vandalism; traffic; ghosts; vagrants; relatives can't visit etc...but bottom line is people are worried about property values. You had a Realtor at the meeting say that values would drop $100,000 in the area...hahahaha- people from St. Tim's neighborhood have debunked that quite soundly in previous comments, so in my mind it behooves the Church and it's supporters to work toward an honest dialog in this area in order to gain local support. Oh, and by the way, I wonder how many homes down Old Blackhawk have a family member's ashes in the house and neighbor's just don't know and relatives come and visit and kids still play nearby etc, without any of the consequences that have been mentioned by non-supporters.

Posted by Treetopper
a resident of Danville
on Jul 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Sounds like the villagers are out to burn the monster. Why don't the "neighbors" attend a service or two and find out what Peace Lutheran is about?

Posted by Arlene
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Thanks, Maggie, for so beautifully describing what it means to be Church. We have lived in the Danville area for 38 years. Peace Lutheran really strives to not just preach about the Gospel but to actually practice the Gospel. It is welcoming and accepting of ALL. It provides its space to outside groups. It has outreach to the entire community. It supports individuals and organizations in need. We had hoped that the Columbarium would offer another needed ministry to Peace members as well as to others in the community. It would be very comforting to my family to have a memorial space in Danville where we could visit and quietly remember the blessings of that person. A Memorial Wall with the Columbarium would provide such a sacred space. We have a memorial rose bush for our two and a half year old grandson who passed in 2002. We would include him on the Memorial Wall but we would also like to be part of this sacred space in the future as part of the Columbarium. Our family could then be together in this Sacred Resting Place.

Posted by tango
a resident of Danville
on Jul 30, 2012 at 11:34 am

Nice to see subsequent comments that are realistic ! I cannot believe a realtor actually said values of homes would drop $100K. Simply ridiculous and without any any substance at all. Bottom line, the church needs to seriously reach out and gain support by stating the facts and also be sensitive to the residents that are so ill informed.A columbarium, if done the right way, can be a sanctuary and not a place of ghosts and the basis of reduced property values and traffic. The folks in the Terraces and surrounding areas ( where I reside )need to gather the facts.

Posted by A Real Resident
a resident of Danville
on Jul 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Amazing how many non-residents want to tell the residents to "get the facts" when none of them were actually present to hear the concerns of these residents last Monday night. The group was actually well represented (with far more than the 60 people that was reported). While this posting is hardly the place to revisit the many, many concerns brought forth by the residents, or to debate the poorly informed, I will say that it amazes me that folks who have spouted here about the open and accepting nature of this church and its congregation are the same ones criticizing other's religious beliefs about living near the dead, and completing minimizing the rights of 90%+ of this neighborhood who are saying NO. You aren't doing the debate justice by passing judgment and being so insulting to those who actually live here. Despite your comments, however, I DO believe that this is a peaceful congregation and that in the end, they will vote to live peacefully in this community by dropping these plans for the columbarium.

Our situation varies greatly from that of St. Tim's and the issues range broadly from spiritual to financial. A compromise was suggested to the church officials but I suspect there simply isn't enough financial incentive for them to accept a memorial wall without the ashes, unfortunately. Churches don't deal in profits but they do raise funds to grow their programs. Clearly, this is a way to do just that for PLC.

Regardless...of this there should be no doubt...the neighborhood will fight against this to the end and we are well armed with facts, passion, and if need be, legal means.

Posted by tango
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm

To: A Real Resident. Your kidding, right ? I was at the meeting and contrary to your comments, the concerns expressed were not of a well thought out nature. It gets down to a few yahoos who have nothing better to do but pick a fight. In typical Danville fashion you turn to the " legals means " posture. This is a columbarium, not a darn cemetary. Get real accept it and work with the church to find an acceptable compromise. It is your only hope !In a straight line my home is 75 feet away !

Posted by A Real Resident
a resident of Danville
on Jul 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Tango, your distaste of Danville and its residents is obvious in your posts. Those of us who DO love it here have concerns and we did offer a compromise to the church. As I said earlier, I believe they are a peaceful congregation and they will drop their plans or settle on the proposed compromise in time. Legal means is a last resort, of course.

Perhaps another city would suit you better, Tango. Good luck in selling your house at full value if the columbarium goes in before then though!

Posted by WARBUX
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Real: you lost all credibility at the "90%" claim in your earlier post. You can't get 90% of people to agree that the earth is not flat -- especially if your group contains a significant element of those whose religious beliefs forbid "living among the dead."

I think you are a bully, and I believe you are bluffing. So I am announcing the formation of a legal defense fund: AttorneyS Helping Eliminate aggreSsion -- or, ASHES. As you may know, there are quite a few Lutheran lawyers who will jump at the chance to do good in the world -- at a substantial discount. Those opportunities don't come along very often. Stay tuned!

So bring it on -- the best way to deal with a bully is to back him down.

Posted by Tango
a resident of Danville
on Jul 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm

To; A Real Resident ! You have to be kidding ? A reply is not even worth it but as I close this out, please know I have lived in Danville since 1982 and I can assure you that the $1.4 mill equity in my house will not be diminshed one penny when the columbarium is constructed. Who knows, maybe the surrounding gardens will shield your pathetic little home, that your proabaly sideways on ,from the noise coming eminating from Tassajara !Never wanted to stoop to your level but your position is short of insane !

Posted by tango
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm

To real, aka a fake ! By the way I love Danville. Raised several children here and have the last one at SRV who is a great student and athlete all because of this great community. The spector of your comment that "legal means is a last resort" is exactly why people like you should not live here. People like me and family represent the goodness of Danville and not the mean spirited tone of your objections to a simple columbarium ! Over and out good buddy !!

Posted by Bob
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I am with Tango ! The clown who goes by the moniker REAL is proably a lawyer looking for a case !

Posted by Arlene
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm

It is very disturbing that “Real” assumes that Peace has proposed the Columbarium for financial reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Peace Columbarium is not a money-making business. Instead it offers an opportunity for families to visit the memorial space in the Danville area. For Christians the Church has been our center from birth to death. Hence, our desire to have a final resting place at the Church. Plus, it would really be nice to have such a place close by rather than requiring long travel distances. Check it out – There just aren’t such resting places in the area.

Posted by Tango
a resident of Danville
on Jul 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Way to go Arlene ! Your spot on ! Thank you

Posted by bob
a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Very interesting that REAL has put his tail between his legs after taken a hit by Arlene, Tango and others !!

Posted by Danny Danville
a resident of Danville
on Aug 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Hi Everyone,

With all kindness and respect, if you are not a member of the neighborhood please end all posts with your favorite color, food and place to vacation. It is about as relevant as your opinion on this matter.

Bottom line is the neighborhood is a community and the community has a right to oppose changes which they feel could negatively impact their life/investments.

Also, if you live where there is some open space near your home, please let us know and we can propose moving the columbarium/human remains close to your home. I am always looking for an alternate approach.

And finally, if you are against "Danville" and the people living in "Danville" I truly feel for you. I have lived in a lot of places and I can say with all honestly the hearts and intentions of the people in Danville are some of the kindest I have ever seen.


Posted by Larry
a resident of Danville
on Aug 14, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I happen to be a member of PLC and I live in one of the adjacent townhome neighborhoods. Originally I thought this was a good idea. Our church is not a mainstream church and we saw this as a way to serve our membership and raise almost $600,000 in revenue, less the $100,000 cost to build. I was amazed at the outcry from the various neighborhoods impacted by this columbarium. I hope that we, PLC, take to heart the concerns of our neighbors. We should be able to find a way to memorialize our loved ones in a way that is agreeable to all people. Perhaps a living memorial (trees, roses/flowers) would be a better solution. Peace.

Posted by johny
a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:06 am

it is the worse idea

Posted by SANDY
a resident of Danville
on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:07 am


Posted by LENNY
a resident of Diablo
on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

They just doing it for the money

Posted by Jack
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

Danville town should not allow it

Posted by Internet historian
a resident of Danville
on Aug 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm

For anyone who was wondering what the internet term "sock puppet" means, it's when someone poses and several different people and posts comments "agreeing" with himself, trying to make people think other agree with him - like the person who posed as "Larry," "Johny," "Sandy," "Lenny" and "Jack" above. (This, incidentally, was a really clumsy example of sock puppetry.)

I guess we now know where the "200" signatures on the petition the ghost-mongerers have been bragging about came from. :-D

Posted by Arlene
a resident of Diablo
on Aug 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Larry made a RIDICULOUS statement and a VERY DISHONEST ONE!! If you want to post something, at least be honest and honorable. You are definitely not a member of Peace. We at Peace hoped to build the columbarium to serve our members and the community, as there are not after life resting places in the area. Your statement about the revenue raising is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!! We would be subsidizing the columbarium because we feel it is so important that the church serves as a wellness and healing source from birth to death. Lenny and anyone else who thinks Peace is doing it for the money - you are COMPLETELY wrong. My family would have felt blessed to be able to go to a peaceful and beautiful place to remember my husband and myself at the church that was part of our lives. Our grandson's memorial rose bush was to be moved to the columbarium with his name. This would have been a blessing to all of us. It really disappoints and angers me when people make such dishonest statements.

Posted by IntHist
a resident of Danville
on Aug 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Arlene, "Lenny" and "Larry" and "Jack" and "Johny" and "Sandy" aren't real people. They're just one sad phony posing as real people (Real Resident, perhaps?) The self-righteous attitude and mob mentality of the people who oppose this service to the community have emboldened them to say a lot of ugly, foolish and hateful things.

Passing yourself off a as fake person is hardly at the top of the list...

Posted by Larry
a resident of Danville
on Aug 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm

With all due respect, I don't think it's a dishonest statement to say that we are doing this for the revenue. If we truly wanted to serve our membership and our community, then why charge for a space? I value my friends in PLC, but I also value my neighbors in the Tivoli townhomes that make sure to check in on me from time to time, to take in my trash cans and bring me holiday treats. Many of my neighbors are young couples that don't have the equity that many of the other advocates of this project have. I've prayed on this issue and have received guidence from the Lord. I hope the entire congregation prays on this issue as well and follows His guidance.

Posted by Arlene
a resident of Diablo
on May 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I just checked this site after months off of it. Wow! Larry - YOU KEEP ON LYING! You are not a member of Peace!! It is so phony of you to say you are.

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