Services on the Occasion of Death
Guide to Services
The funeral and memorial worship services of the church provide an opportunity for the faith community to proclaim the good news of resurrection, to give thanks for and to celebrate the life of the one who has died, and to gather around and console those who mourn.
“The resurrection is a central doctrine of the Christian faith and shapes Christians’ attitudes and responses to the event of death. Death brings loss, sorrow, and grief to all. In the face of death, Christians affirm with tears and joy, the hope of the gospel. Christians do not bear bereavement in isolation but are sustained by the power of the Spirit and the community of faith. The church offers a ministry of love and hope to all who grieve.”
(Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Book of Order W-4.10001)
Eastminster’s pastor will meet with the family at the time of death to offer comfort and support and to plan the service. It is important for the family to provide the Funeral Director with the pastor’s name and contact information so that she/he can coordinate the Funeral Home’s services with the church.
A funeral service is usually conducted within days of death. For church members, it is ordinarily held at the church at a time when the congregation can be present. It may also be held at a funeral home. The closed casket or urn may be present. If the casket is open it will be placed in the Narthex for viewing. The casket will be closed prior to the start of the service and placed in the front of the Sanctuary.
A memorial service can take place days or weeks after death. A longer timeline allows more opportunity for friends and family to receive notice and make arrangements to attend. However, a shorter timeline helps those who are grieving. For church members, it is generally held at the church. It may also be held at a funeral home. The casket or urn is not present.
The committal is a short service at the graveside or other site that specifically ministers to the needs of the bereaved. It consists of brief scripture readings and prayers. The committal may accompany a funeral or memorial service and be held either before or after the service.
Elements of the Service
Order of Worship
The Service of Witness to the Resurrection includes these standard components:
- Call to Worship
- Prayer of Confession & Assurance of Pardon
- Readings from the Old & New Testaments
- Proclamation & Eulogy
- Prayers of the People & The Lord’s Prayer
- Music, hymns or solos (optional)
When the service is held at the church, the Office Administrator will prepare and print the bulletin. A photo of the deceased, the obituary and memorial gift designations may be included.
Scheduling the Service
The funeral director works with the family to suggest a date and time for the funeral or memorial service and confirms the date and time with Eastminster’s pastor.
The service shall be under the direction of Eastminster’s pastor. Others may be invited to participate as leaders in the service at the discretion and invitation of the pastor.
Music suitable for the service directs attention to God and expresses the faith of the church. All music for the service will be approved by the pastor in coordination with Eastminster’s Director of Music/Organist or his or her designate. By request, the Director may be able to arrange for a soloist or special music. She will also work with other singers or musicians whom the family selects.
The Day of the Service
Display of Flowers & Other Items
A tasteful number of flower arrangements and personal items related to the deceased may be displayed in the Sanctuary at the discretion of the pastor and under the direction of the Funeral Coordinator. Additional floral arrangements, displays of photographs and personal items may be placed in the Narthex or Green Room. Other tributes such as photographs and a guest book may be displayed in the Narthex and/or at the reception.
If desired, visitation may be held at the church the day before or just prior to the service. The pastor will assist you in scheduling the visitation.
Expressions of Sympathy
At the time of death, Eastminster will establish a Memorial Fund in the name of the deceased member of the church. The family may also wish to direct gifts to other charities or organizations. The funeral home and the church will be able to assist you in providing envelopes for receiving these gifts at the service.
Assistance on the Day of the Service
Eastminster’s Funeral Coordinator will be available at the church to assist the funeral home, family and guests. She/he will oversee the placement of floral arrangements and other items in the Sanctuary, Narthex and Green Room and help people find their way around the church. As directed by the pastor, the Funeral Coordinator will also arrange for parking attendants and ushers.
The family may choose to host a reception following the service. Upon request, the Board of Deacons will provide a simple reception in the Green Room consisting of homemade cookies and hot and cold beverages. If the family wishes to provide a meal, one of the Board of Deacon’s Funeral Reception Coordinators will contact the family and make arrangements with our caterer for a meal in the Fellowship Hall.
Cookies & Beverages – no charge
Sample Catered Meal Options:
- Lasagna with Salad & Bread
- Chicken in Cornbread Stuffing with Salad
- Assorted Sandwich Tray with Salads
- Chicken Salad with Croissants & Fresh Fruit
The Funeral Reception Coordinator will contact our caterer who will call you to discuss options and pricing.
Fees and Honoraria
For your convenience, you may write one check for all fees and honoraria associated with the church as well as the cost of catering. Please complete the Funeral Fees & Honoraria Form and submit it to the Church Office along with your check payable to Eastminster Presbyterian Church. If you have questions about the fees, contact Eastminster’s Office Administrator Monday-Thursday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
There is no charge to church members for the use of the Sanctuary, Green Room or Fellowship Hall.
When the deceased is a member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, no honorarium is necessary. When the funeral or memorial service is for a non-member, the funeral home can assist you in determining an appropriate honorarium.
Organist – $150
This required fee includes selecting and playing the organ and/or piano for the prelude and postlude and accompanying the hymns. If soloists or guest musicians will participate in the service, there may be an additional fee of $50 for a rehearsal.
Funeral Coordinator & Funeral Reception Coordinator
These services are part of Eastminster’s ministry to bereaved families and friends. There is no fee.