Funerals

How is the service scheduled?

Immediately following the death, if a member of the clergy was not present, the church office and your selected funeral director should be called. Usually services are scheduled by the clergy and the funeral director in consultation with the family.

What decisions do we have to make about the service?

There are several suggestions for scripture readings which may be chosen with guidance of the clergy. You are invited to select readers from among family and friends. You may request special hymns or music and the participation of other clergy.

May there be speakers from our family and friends?

It is customary that the priest gives a brief homily which most find comforting and enlightening.

May the casket remain open for the funeral?

In the Episcopal Church, the casket is closed before, during and after the service, and is covered with a white cloth called a pall.

How does cremation affect the service?

The service is exactly the same, except that rather than the casket being present, a container with the ashes,covered with a pall is borne out of the church at the conclusion of the service.

Must there be Holy Communion?

The Holy Eucharist at a funeral is standard for a communicant of the Church. However, there are some instances when, in consultation with parish clergy, it may omitted.

Are graveside funerals or memorial services acceptable?

The standard ritual for the burial of the dead is the church service with the remains present, held within the week of death, and followed immediately by burial or interment. However, there are occasions when graveside funerals or later memorial services are considered.

Is there a policy about flowers?

Normally, two vases of flowers are used in the sanctuary. If a commercial florist is to arrange flowers, they must use Christ Episcopal Church vases. We recommend asking for gifts in lieu of flowers, for medical research, to the dead person’s favorite charities, or to a Christ Episcopal Church Memorial Fund.

May we have a reception at the church following the service?

It is possible to hold a reception in the Parish Hall. Outside catering should be arranged by the family.

Are there any fees for the funeral?

The church does not require a fee for communicant members.  A gift to Christ Episcopal Church would always be welcomed. However, if there is to be music at the service, then the organist would need to be paid separately.

The Service

The Episcopal funeral service begins with the entrance of clergy and the casket or ashes (if present). The Officiant begins the liturgy with spoken “anthems” after which a hymn is typically sung. After the hymn, a prayer (“collect”) is offered by the clergy followed by the readings. Family or friends are encouraged to read lessons and psalms (the exception is the Gospel reading at a Eucharist service, which is read by a member of the clergy). Other lessons may be substituted, particularly a passage held dear by the deceased.

Music for the Funeral Service

The clergy can aid in the selection of music for funerals at Christ Episcopal Church. He will help you to understand the musical options available and to customize the liturgy to suit your wishes.  Hymns are appropriate at all funerals. They offer an opportunity to express our emotions while recalling the faith of the church: that death is not victorious over those who belong to God. At a typical funeral liturgy, hymns may be sung in the following places: at the entrance, between the lessons, at the “offertory” (preparing the altar for Communion), during/after Communion, before the Commendation, after the Dismissal.

The Funeral Bulletin and Guest Book

Service leaflets will be created by the church staff and produced in house. The clergy and the family work together to create the liturgy and the Parish Administrator produces the copies of the leaflets. If you would like to have a guest book at the funeral, we ask that the family provide one.  It will be placed at the back of the church prior to the service.