Help For Planning A Funeral

This information has been prepared to be of service to you at a time when you experience the deepest pains we know in this life. Nothing quite tests us as severely as does the loss of a loved one to death. In that testing time, your family in the Christian faith desires to be a source of help, comfort, compassion and strength. This information is designed to help us achieve that goal. You will find here a variety of suggestions, recommendations and guidelines which will ease the burden of decision-making at such a time.

Undergirding this effort are our prayers for God’s presence to be with you in your time of need, and for God’s unconquerable hope to grip your heart and soul. Please remember that the promise of the Scriptures is that while we do experience the shadowed valley of death, by God’s power and with God’s help we walk through that valley to the brighter days that are ahead.

This guide will offer suggestions on how to meet this inevitable event and plan according to most traditional standards. Among the matters for the family to consider at the time of death are listed here. Click on a subject and jump to that paragraph.

Care of Your Loved One’s Remains
Locations of Service
Biographical Information
Pall (the coffin or the drape over the coffin)
Sample Orders of Worship
Suggested Hymns
Sample Scriptures
Care Of Your Loved One’s Remains
Christian methods of disposition of the body are interment, cremation or donation for medical purposes. The donation of one’s organs is an acceptable practice in most denominations. God has brought about great healing miracles through the skills of surgeons in transplanting organs. You may wish to discuss this option with your minister or family members. Any local hospital or doctor can provide information on this subject. As a rule, a memorial service would be held a day or two later.

Location and Type of Service
1. Funeral service at the church with burial service at the cemetery immediately following.
2. Burial service at the cemetery with memorial service to follow at the church.
3. A service of prayer and remembrance for your loved one.
4. Funeral home service with grave-side following.

The funeral/memorial service is an opportunity to express your Christian faith through music. The organist may assist you in planning the musical portions of the service. Vocal or instrumental solos may also be desired. Some favorite hymns of faith are listed below.

Biographical Information
Be thinking of that information you will want to include on a service bulletin. Suggestions include: full name (include maiden name, military service – branch, title, rank, time of service) nickname; date and place of birth; hometown; date, person and place of marriage; education (degrees); children, grand­children, other immediate family; career, special achievements, qualities, traits, memories; areas of service within the church, community, nation, world; favorite Bible verse, hymn, poem, or saying.

It is not necessary for the body of the deceased to be present at the service. If it is, the casket should be closed so that the attention of those assembled may be directed toward the Author and Finisher of their salvation. Many families provide a spray of flowers to be placed on the casket.

Often there are suggested honoraria for the organist and soloist. These typically range from $100 to $250 depending on the artist. Many artists do not require an honorarium for members of their local church. Typically, an honorarium or fee is not expected by the minister. This is usually a part of regular ministry.

Flowers are widely used as the language of sympathy, memory and celebration of new life. The flowers should be delivered to the place of the memorial service or funeral on the day of the service. Inform the funeral director of your desire for the disposition of the flowers.

Many families suggest no flowers be sent to the service, and if some expression of sympathy is desired that it be in the form of a donation to a memorial. Requests for memorial gifts in lieu of flowers should be included in the newspaper notice.

Sample Orders of Worship
1) The Organ Prelude
The Call to Worship
The Hymn of Praise
The Invocation and Lord�s Prayer Scripture Readings
A Meditation or brief sermon
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
A Creed or Other Affirmation of Faith
The Hymn of Victory
The Benediction
The Organ Postlude

2) The Prelude
The Call to Worship
The Invocation
The Hymn of Praise
Scripture Reading and Personal Reflections
The Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
The Lord�s Prayer
The Benediction
The Organ Postlude

3) Organ Selections or Taped Music (usually at Funeral Homes)
The Call to Worship
The Invocation and the Lord�s Prayer
Scripture Readings
A Meditation
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
The Benediction
Organ Music or Taped Music

Suggested Hymns
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
All The Way My Savior Leads Me
Amazing Grace
Be Still, My Soul
Blest Be the Tie
Blessed Assurance
Crown Him With Many Crowns
Faith of Our Fathers
Faith Is The Victory
For All the Saints Who From Their Labors Rest
He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought
Immortal Love, Forever Full
It Is Well With My Soul
The King of Love My Shepherd Is
The Lord’s My Shepherd
More Love To Thee
My Faith Looks Up To Thee
My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less
My Jesus, I Love Thee
O God, Our Help In Ages Past
Jesus, I Have Promised
O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
Rock of Ages, Cleft For Me
Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
Sweet By and By
Take The Name of Jesus With You
Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand

A Few Suggested Scriptures
Isaiah 40: 1-11; 28-31
Isaiah 40:28-31
Isaiah 65:17-25
Ecclesiastics 3:1-15
Psalms 23
Psalms 46:1-5, 10-11

Matthew 5:1-12a
Luke 23:1-8
John 6:47-58
John 14:1-6, 25-27
Romans 8:14-23, 31-39
1 Corinthians 15:20-26
2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:1
Ephesians 1: 11 – 2:1, 4-10