Funerals at St. Peter & St. Paul
The death of a loved one is always a painful and difficult time, no matter the circumstances. Committing our departed friend to God’s eternal care is a solemn occasion for the life of the Christian community and the family of the deceased. This webpage describes how we understand and conduct memorial and burial services in this parish. For information on interment in our Memorial Garden click here.
The time of death is a moment of finality and loss. For Christians, however, death is not the last word in our lives. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are given a relationship with God that will last forever. In Baptism, we have died with Christ that we might be raised with him to the kingdom of heaven. The Service for Christian Burial, therefore, is a service of the resurrection and a celebration of this gift of new life. Because of this, the Burial service is held at St. Peter & St. Paul and often includes the celebration of Holy Communion. Arrangements for a Burial service, its content and format, will be made by the priest, in keeping with the Book of Common Prayer [click here for a link to an online BCP]. The funeral home personnel must also coordinate their plans with the priest. The remains (in casket or urn) are present for the service; the casket is closed before the service and remains closed thereafter. Photographs may be used in the entryway and parish hall, but not in the worship space. A photograph may be used in the service bulletin prepared by the church office.
The Burial service in the Episcopal Church begins with words of comfort from Holy Scriptures, readings from the Old and New Testaments, a psalm, a reading from one of the Gospel accounts, a homily from the priest and prayers for the departed and his or her family and friends. The service then usually continues with the Eucharist (Communion), followed by prayers commending the departed to Almighty God. We then proceed to the grave where, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection, we commit our friend to God, and his or her remains to the ground, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Eulogies, tributes and other commemorations
Though it may be appropriate for one or two assigned people to offer brief and appropriate remembrances of the deceased, an open time for several speeches is not appropriate in a worship service such as this. Music and other elements such as videography or photography should bear this context in mind. Family members should speak with the priest to plan the service and any of these elements. Often, receptions before or after the service provide the most appropriate time to celebrate and remember the life of our friend in greater detail, sharing with family and friends the blessings that we will always remember. There are no fees for the services of the priest. There is a $200 fee for the organist. Please contact the church office for more information. 770-977-7473. May God be with you always.