Our funeral and memorial service policy
In Baptism each Christian shares in Christ’s dying and rising, and receives the promise of eternal and abundant life in him. We understand the Christian funeral to be the completion of Baptism. In the face of death, we affirm with tears and joy the good news of the gospel and the hope of the resurrection. We do not grieve in isolation, but are sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit and the community of faith. (W-4.0701
Conducting the Funeral or Memorial Service
- “The service of witness to the resurrection is most appropriately held in the congregation’s usual place of worship, demonstrating continuity with the community’s faith, life, and hope. When there are important reasons not to hold the service in the usual place of worship, it may be held in another place, such as a home, funeral home, crematorium, or graveside. It may be observed on any day, and may, with the approval of the session, occur as a part of the Service for the Lord’s Day. The service may take place before or after the committal of the body.” (W-4.0703)
- Ordinarily the viewing, if any, will be held at the funeral home; however, arrangements can be made to have a viewing in the East Room before the service. In order that attention during the service be directed toward God, the casket will be closed prior to entering the sanctuary.
- When in the sanctuary, it is appropriate for the casket to be covered by fresh flowers. “The casket or urn may be covered with a pall, a symbol of being clothed with Christ in Baptism.” (W-4.0704)
- A request to cover the casket with the national flag representing the willingness of the deceased to offer up his/her life shall be granted.
- An urn containing the cremated remains of the deceased shall be displayed tastefully somewhere in the sanctuary but not on the communion table or the piano. One flower arrangement, one picture of the deceased, and/or a folded flag shall accompany an urn if requested.
- The funeral or memorial service of worship witnessing to the resurrection is a service of worship to God. It shall be conducted with dignity and simplicity and will emphasize the love and grace of God as well as hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No part of the service shall dominate these primary purposes.
- “The service may include other actions common to the community of faith and its cultural context, provided that these actions do not distract from the Christian understanding of death and resurrection. Fraternal, civic, or military rites are to be conducted separately.” (W-4.0704)
- The final authority determining the suitability of any music for worship rests with the pastor in consultation with the Director of Music and the family. Instrumentalists or vocalists may be employed, with the approval of the Director of Music. All music must be liturgically appropriate.
- Secular music is not acceptable for use during the worship service, but arrangements can be made for such recorded music to be played in the Fellowship Hall during the reception.
- If organ music is chosen, the church organist, if available, shall provide worship music for any funeral or memorial service. If the church organist is not available, the pastor shall contact the Director of Music to arrange for a supply organist.
- The use of flowers for the funeral or memorial service shall be kept within the guidelines of what is appropriate and customary for a service of worship on the Lord’s Day (Sunday morning), which is one arrangement placed on the brick wall to the left of the pulpit. All remaining floral arrangements are to be appropriately arranged on the stairs to the left and right of the pulpit. No flowers shall be placed on the communion table or the piano. If additional space is needed, flowers can be displayed in the narthex and then taken to the graveside for the committal.
- Photo and video displays of the deceased are encouraged in the Fellowship Hall during the reception.
- In the event of a death in our family of faith, we are called to provide Christian love and care. When final arrangements are made for the service, the pastor will contact the designated coordinator of bereavement receptions. Other church members will be contacted to assist in setting up and providing a bereavement reception.
- Family and friends of the deceased may gather at the graveside or crematorium for a service of interment. The service, led by the presiding pastor, will focus upon the reality of death, entrust the one who has died to the care of God, and bear witness to faith in the resurrection.
- A graveside service is offered for simplicity and convenience if desired by the deceased or those surviving. There are some issues you may want to consider when choosing an alternative graveside service. Inclement weather such as rain, wind, or extreme temperatures may hinder the logistics of performing such a service. Terrain in cemeteries can be uneven and wet, causing difficult footing. Additionally, the service length must be brief as most attendees are standing behind the few chairs provided for the family. These and other issues may interfere with the congregation’s ability to provide comfort to those in need.
- When the deceased is a member of Orange Presbyterian Church, there is no fee for the pastor or the church organist; however, an honorarium is acceptable and encouraged. If a supply organist is obtained, covering his/her fee is suggested. There will be no charge for use of the Fellowship Hall.
- When the deceased is not an active member of Orange Presbyterian Church, the family will be asked to pay the following honoraria and fees:
Organist: A suggested honorarium of at least $200 is recommended.
Supply organist: Mandatory coverage of fee.
Pastor: A suggested honorarium of at least $200 is recommended.
Use of the Fellowship Hall: $150.00 + $50 for cleaning
- The current amounts of these fees will be noted in a tasteful brochure to be presented to the family when arrangements are being made. Copies of these brochures will also be given to each funeral home in the area so they may point out information about the church’s fees to those who are making funeral arrangements.
- The pastor welcomes opportunities to work with individuals and families to plan funerals before the time of death. The pastor will encourage individuals to communicate their wishes and desires to family and friends. Whenever possible, these wishes and desires should be put in writing and filed with the responsible parties.
- When requests are received by other churches for the use of Orange Presbyterian Church for a funeral or memorial service, the pastor shall consult the church calendar to see if we can accommodate the service and then notify the session of this request. A donation will be requested for the use of the facility, and if we provide an organist, the non-member fee shall be applied.