No one likes to contemplate his death or funeral regardless of the greatness of his faith. Even Jesus prayed in the Garden to have this bitter cup taken from him. However, we must remember that our loved ones will be overwhelmed with decisions that will need to be made in the immediate hours following our death. It is truly an act of love and one of the best gifts we can give our loved ones, to have made these decisions in advance and left them instructions regarding what to do upon our death.
Therefore, we have put together a guide to assist you in easing the burdens of those you leave behind. It is designed to help you look at the issues that will be critical for others when you die. Having detailed, easily accessible information helps them as they make decisions during a very difficult time.
Funeral Planning Guide (pdf) »
Make sure you file this information, including copies of the Will, Living Will and Power of Attorney for Health Circumstances, locations of safety deposit box and the original Will, a listing of property and insurance policies, bank accounts, stocks and bonds where they will be found easily. It is suggested that you also file with your local church and/or your attorney, and that you notify your Executor and heirs that this information is for them.
In the Book of Common Prayer on page 494 is a prayer that is sometimes said at a Burial Service. We can say this prayer now for those we will leave behind, knowing that we have done all we could to relieve them of confusion in an already difficult time.
Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: deal graciously with my family in their grief. Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do you have to be a member of Christ Church to have a funeral here?
No. We will do a Christian burial for anyone, regardless of church membership.
- Does Christ Church charge a fee for doing a funeral?
No. Funeral directors may suggest appropriate and optional honoraria for the clergy and musicians, but no fees are charged by the church.
- May I select the music and readings?
The Congregational Care Minister will assist you in selecting appropriate scripture readings and music for the service. All services are from the Book of Common Prayer, Rite II (pp. 490-505). Regarding any aspect of the service at Christ Church, any decision of the Congregational Care Minister is a reliable guide as to the eventual and final decision of the Rector. All music will be in keeping with the religious nature of the service. The Music Ministry staff will perform the music.
- Is it appropriate to have eulogists?
The service is intended to be positive, uplifting, and comforting; pointing us to the hope we have in Jesus Christ. We therefore recommend that a eulogy not be done. Eulogies can be painful and are very difficult for most people who, even at their best, are not used to speaking publicly. Rather, the clergy conducting the service will give a homily, or short sermon. While a eulogy looks back, the homily looks forward, focusing on God and what he is doing in our lives and in the life of our loved one. It is very appropriate to give the clergy some anecdotes to share, but the overall focus of the service is on the hope of heaven and the victory of Christ.
- Will there be Communion?
Having Holy Communion is the choice of the family and is especially appropriate if the deceased was an active Christian in his or her own church. In keeping with our hope in the resurrection, this sacrament reminds us of our future heavenly banquet and offers comfort in our grief.
- What about flowers?
Most of the funeral services at Christ Church are held in the Chapel. Behind the altar table is a window onto a beautiful garden and cross, making flowers unnecessary. But if flowers are desired, there may an arrangement at the altar. All other flowers will be displayed in the Narthex, along with family photos and mementos if desired.
- When are funeral services conducted?
Most services are held Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Congregational Care minister works with the family to arrange the time that works best.
- Will the coffin be open at the church?
No. Once it enters the church, the coffin will be covered with a pall. The pall is a beautiful cloth that covers the coffin and leaves no room for flowers. By completely concealing the coffin, the pall ensures that all people, regardless of how expensive the coffin, receive the same burial from the church. If the person was a veteran or a member of the military, the coffin will be covered with the American flag instead of the pall.
A reception may be held in the church Fellowship Hall or at home. The Congregational Care Minister will assist in making the arrangements.
- I wish to be cremated. May I still be buried from the church?
Yes. The Church permits cremation. In 1 Corinthians 15:35-58, Paul talks about our Resurrection Bodies. Whatever the state in which our perishable bodies end, we will be given new, imperishable ones. Christ Church has a columbarium available for placement of the ashes.
- What is a columbarium?
Throughout the ages, the Christian Church has sought to honor its dead. While our belief in the resurrection is the foundation of our faith, nevertheless people of faith have sought to signify each life lived with a permanent marker. “Columbarium”, in early Rome, simply meant a nesting place for doves. However, when the faithful members of the church died in the persecutions, the church began to use these niches to seal away their ashes.
- Where is the Christ Church Columbarium located?
The Christ Church Columbarium is located in the prayer room, immediately behind the altar.
- Who can use the Columbarium?
Interment in the Columbarium is limited to past or present members of Christ Church and members of their immediate family (spouses, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren). In some situations, special pastoral consideration may change this policy.
- Can I select the niche that I want?
The Congregational Care Minister will assist you in selecting a niche. Niche assignments will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis determined by the date and time of receipt of an application accompanied by full payment.
- How much does it cost?
The fee for the right to use a niche in the Memorial Columbarium is $1,000 for placement of a single urn and $1,500 for the placement of two urns. This fee includes the cost of the urn(s), and engraving of the memorial plaque covering the niche.
- Can I select my own urn?
No. A custom urn is provided as part of the interment fee.
- How do I reserve space in the Columbarium?
Call the Church office and ask to speak to the Congregational Care Minister, who will answer your questions and help you select the niche. You will be given a copy of the Columbarium Covenant and an application. Complete the application and return it to the Church office with your check. Upon acceptance of the application, a certificate indicating interment rights ownership will be sent to you.
- Why should I make arrangements in advance?
Families can be overwhelmed with the many decisions that must be made when a death occurs. Information on what to do upon our death is one of the best gifts we can give our loved ones. Christ Church offers a guide to assist you in this process.