It is always a difficult time when someone you love dies. Feelings of grief, loneliness, anger and depression come at a time when many decisions need to be made concerning funeral or memorial arrangements. This information is provided to help in your planning.

At the time of death

When a death occurs, we ask that the family, friends or funeral home contact the church office. The minister will make arrangements to spend time with the family or friends, to express sympathy, offer pastoral care, and help plan the service, which may be held within the next few days.

Options to consider

Funeral or Memorial service: Each is a service of remembrance and celebration. the significant difference is that the casket is present at a funeral service, but not at a memorial service.

Church or Funeral Home: The service of remembrance and celebration can take place at a funeral home or at the church.

Private or Public: The service may be held privately for family and close friends only, or announced in the paper so that all who wish to express their support and care may be present. Friends and family want the opportunity to express their sympathies to the bereaved, and the bereaved benefit from the interaction with them. Many people have remarked that having a public service with an open reception was most helpful. This time of fellowship and sharing is important. It offers people the opportunity to share their remembrances in an atmosphere of thanksgiving, and allows care and concern to be expresed to the loved ones.

Burial and Internment: Burial usually takes place following the service of worship. It is recommended that the internment takes place as soon after the service as possible. Some families may choose to bury the ashes prior to the memorial service. If the ashes are not to be buried, they may be spread at a location chosen by the family.

Family Involvement: The family of the deceased may choose to have a friend or relative share special memories during the service. If this cannot be managed, the family or friends may write their remembrances and have the minister or someone else read them.

Selecting the Scripture: The service can be made more meaningful if the family or friends help to select the scripture or other readings. The minister will be prepared to assist in the selection. Readings in addition to those from scripture, such as poetry and other writing, are also appropriate.

Selecting the Music: It is appropriate for the family or friends to select the music to be played or sung. The minister and the director of music will assist with the selection. If the service is to be held at a funeral home, an organist can be provided by the church or by the funeral home.