Funerals and Memorial Services at St. Mark's-in-the-Valley
Physical death will come to all of us, perhaps suddenly, perhaps following a long illness, perhaps at the end of the natural course of life, or when someone is young or in the prime of life; but it will come.
As Christians we need not be afraid of death, of talking about it or preparing for it. Throughout the Christian Year we are reminded time and time again of the uncertainty of life and, at the same time, the certainty of Christ’s power over the final enemy, death.
You may wish to refer to the service of Burial of the Dead on page 469 of The Book of Common Prayer for an overview of the funeral service.
Burial from the Church
Baptized Christians are properly buried from the Church (see The Book of Common Prayer, page 490).
The parish is the place consecrated to the glory of God where the people of God gather to celebrate the cycle of life in communion with Christ. As we gather before the altar of God for the Burial Rites of the Church, the Paschal Candle burns during the liturgy as a reminder that through Baptism we share in Christ’s Resurrection.
Community of faith
The service should be held at a time when the congregation has the opportunity to be present (see The Book of Common Prayer, page 490.)
The participation of the local congregation provides a believing, loving, supportive presence. It is the Body of Christ at worship providing comfort and hope for those who mourn through their prayers and praises.
Offering of homily and a eulogy or remembrance
The priest will offer a homily (sermon) on Christian Hope during the Burial Office.
It is up to the family and friends to offer the eulogy (remembrance) if it is desired. The eulogy may be done from the lectern and will be included at an appropriate place within the liturgy. If multiple remembrances are offered, no more than three are recommended and those offering their thoughts in the service are advised to prepare in writing beforehand. Other general remembrances and sharing take place during the reception, when all those who gather are welcome to speak to the family and to one another about the departed.