FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH FUNERAL POLICIES

 Because death is very much a part of life, we at First Presbyterian wish to assist you through the death of your loved ones. When we hear of the death of a member or a person living in the household of a member, we are anxious to be a support to you and express our love for the deceased and their family. Please notify our pastor in case of a crisis involving you or your family. Notify pastor as soon as possible following the death of a loved one. Our pastor will visit you to offer loving care on behalf of the church and to begin planning the service.

The Session recommends that the funeral or memorial service, especially that of a church member, be conducted in the church. It is appropriate that we worship God here on the occasion of death. However, other options include the following: (1) Funeral Service at the church (closed casket present) followed by a brief graveside service. In lieu of a casket spray, our church has a pall in its possession to place over the casket; use of the pall is recommended. The pall is a blanket (covering) with appropriate Christian symbols and may be reserved by notifying the church office. It should be returned to the church office for safekeeping following the service. (2) A memorial service at the church may be held (casket not present). (3) Committal or interment service at the cemetery gravesite. This service usually last only a few minutes and consists of scripture, prayer and benediction and may be held privately with only family and close friends present. (4) Funeral service may be held at the funeral home followed by a graveside service.

The pastor will assist you in scheduling the service and visitation. If the service or visitation is at the funeral home, you will consult with the Funeral Director. The Funeral Director will gather information from you for the obituary. It is always a good idea to proof a copy of the obituary before it is forwarded to the newspapers. If you wish to request that memorial gifts be made in lieu of flowers, include this in the obituary. If flowers are omitted, you may wish to provide a simple arrangement for the service as an appropriate symbol of ongoing life. You should instruct the Pastor/Funeral Director as to your wishes for the arrangement following the service.

The pastor and director of music are responsible for planning the service and will consult with you regarding your wishes for scripture, hymns, special music and other ideas that would be meaningful to you and your family. Ushers will be provided for the service at the church. You can determine if you wish to greet friends attending the service before or after the service.

There is no charge for use of the church for funeral or memorial services for members, nor does the pastor expect payment for conducting services. Support of bereaved families is a ministry of the church and its pastor. It is appropriate for families to pay guest artists.

A member of our congregation will contact you to offer a meal on the day of the funeral/memorial service. We will need to know the day of the service and the time you wish to have the meal. The meal can be served at lunch either before or after the service.

Volunteers from our membership prepare dishes that will be served to the family in Fourth Creek Meeting Hall. It is our gift of love. If the family wishes to have the meal at their home, we will deliver it there, but not serve it. We prepare for 30-35 persons unless the group is smaller. It is very helpful to let us know how many persons you expect to be served. We realize that it is not always easy to estimate the number who will be present. If the family expects more than 35, we offer to serve the family members a simple private reception.

It is suggested that those participating in the service be invited to share lunch/reception with the family.