The death of a loved one is a painful moment. Christian belief in the resurrection does not take away the sting of their absence from our lives, in the same way that knowledge that a loved one will eventually return from a trip doesn’t make saying goodbye entirely easy.
There are several ways one can respond to the death of a loved one and a variety of services and liturgies out there.
Some people want to have a memorial service, where the focus is on pictures of the loved one along with the sharing of several remembrances and the playing of music important to the one who died. Others may want a wake, a less structured time when loved ones gather together for food and stories celebrating the life of the person who has died.
Memorial services and wakes can be a part of your family’s grieving and our Parish Office is happy to suggest venues and locations for them. Memorial services can often happen at funeral homes. Wakes can happen at restaurants or more intimate gatherings. Either could be hosted in our Parish Hall.
For Episcopal Christians, however, the most important way of recognizing the death of a loved one is with the liturgy for the “Burial of the Dead” found in the Book of Common Prayer. This liturgy, commonly known as a funeral, is a Christian liturgy which largely follows the structure of our normal worship services. That is, we read Scripture and sing hymns. We hear a sermon, proclaiming the Gospel in the context of the reason for our gathering. We pray for our departed brother or sister in Christ and for all of us who mourn. Usually we will also share in Eucharist, a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. The body will almost always be present, whether in a casket or in an urn.
If you would like to have your funeral at St. John’s, you are welcome to have the liturgy for a funeral from the Book of Common Prayer. The liturgy will be in the Nave. The Book of Common Prayer offers several choices you can make with regard to readings, hymns, music, and prayers. You can download the packets below for more information.
The Rector encourages every family to have both a funeral in the Nave and also a wake or reception, whether in the Parish Hall or in another location. The funeral offers a place for us to find solace in our Christian faith and the reception or wake offers a place for us to tell stories, share remembrances, and acknowledge the importance of the person who has died to our lives. Though receptions or wakes often include food, the fare can range from simple snacks to catered luncheons. Also, whereas secular music or readings are not appropriate to the funeral liturgy in the Nave, they are most welcome at a reception or a wake and can often be a powerful part of acknowledging a loved one’s death.
St. John’s Funeral Guidelines & Forms This packet contains all the guidelines for funerals at St. John’s. It also contains the various forms that must be filled out and received by the Parish Office. This is an editable pdf, which means once you download it, you can type directly into the pdf itself.
Memorial Garden Nameplate Order Form – This form is used to order a bronze nameplate to recognize someone who is buried in our Memorial Garden.