Funeral and Memorial Service Information
The resurrection is the central doctrine of the Christian faith and shapes Christians' attitudes and responses in the event of death. Death brings loss, sorrow, and grief. 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.
In “A Brief Statement of Faith” we affirm,
"With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God found in Christ Jesus our Lord." Book of Confessions, 10.5
Planning and Preparation
In times of loss, our church offers a ministry of love and hope to all who grieve. The following information is relevant on the occasion of the death of a loved one.
Location and Date Westminster has two worship spaces where the service can be held on any day: the sanctuary and the chapel. The seating capacity of the chapel is 106 and the sanctuary is 299. After consulting the church calendar for available times, a memorial or funeral service is scheduled on the available day and at the available time that best suits the family and funeral home.
Support from the Pastor The pastor will direct the service. In preparation for the service, the pastor will meet with the family, to pray, share stories, and plan the service.
Holy Communion The session must approve a request to observe a memorial service as part of a morning worship service or to celebrate the Lord's Supper as part of a funeral or memorial service.
Type of Service
The service of worship may differ as we give witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and celebrate the life of God's child.
The memorial service is a service where the body is not present. A graveside service or spreading of the ashes has either preceded the service or will take place at a later time.
The funeral service is a service where the body is present in either a casket or an urn. The service is concluded with a graveside service.
The graveside service is a service that takes place at the burial site.
Cost and Fees
On the occasion of the death of a member of our church family, the facilities are provided without charge. Musical arrangements need to be communicated with the pastor who will contact the director of music ministries. The family may wish to give musicians or vocalists a honorarium for providing their time and talents in the service.
Flowers may be placed in various places throughout the worship space being used for the service. Often families will place a flower arrangement on the communion table.
In expression of our Christian love and sympathy, the fellowship and congregational care ministry provides care for each family in the death of a loved one. A description of the food provided at receptions or family meals is outlined in the bereavement meal policy which can be provided by the pastor or requested from the church office.
Memorial Service Forms
A form is available in the church office and can be found on our Resources page. This form provides scripture, hymns, stories, names of participants, and additional desires for a memorial service at Westminster. These forms can be filled out any time and kept on file with the pastor. A copy will be given to the individual or family for their records.
These gifts may be made as a means of expressing Christian love and concern to those who have lost a loved one. Please mark on the memorial service planning form or let the finance office know after the death of a loved one, which ministry should receive these donations or if the funds can be left unrestricted.
When such a gift is received, a card of acknowledgement will be sent both to the family of the deceased and the donor.
Prayers and Support
During this time of loss, Westminster can support the family in prayer by sharing the concern with the prayer chain, adding the family to the bereavement portion of the weekly printed prayer corner, and including the name and death date at the next All Saints’ Day worship service, the first Sunday in November.