The death of a loved one is an occasion of deep sorrow. It is also a time for the Church to offer comfort to the bereaved, and to assist family members in planning a service that will express thanksgiving for the departed, and witness to the assurance of eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. The following practices will guide the arrangements for funerals at St. Mary’s In-The-Hills.
When a person is near death, the Rector should be notified directly or through the parish office, in order that the ministrations of the Church may be provided. See the service Ministration at the Time of Death, page 462, in The Book of Common Prayer.
All funerals at St. Mary’s In-The-Hills are scheduled through the office of the Rector. Ordained clergy may share with the Rector in the ministration at the time of death and in the conduct of burial services. With the permission of the Rector, clergy of another Episcopal parish or another Christian church may assist at a funeral at St. Mary’s In-The-Hills.
All funerals at St. Mary’s In-The-Hills conform to The Book of Common Prayer. Scripture readings, prayers, hymns, and other music are selected in consultation with the clergy and/or the Director of Music.
A brief homily may preached at a funeral, or a moment of silent reflection with or without music. A brief address by a family member or friend may be included, with the permission of the Celebrant.
The Burial of the Dead may be celebrated according to Rite One (pages 469ff.) or Rite Two (pages 491 ff.). The service may include the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. If preferred, the Committal of the body or cremated remains may take place at the cemetery or Memorial Garden.
Flowers for funerals and other services are under the direction of the Altar Guild of St. Mary’s In-The-Hills. Floral arrangements are not permitted on the coffin during the service in the nave. If the parish is given responsibility for procuring flowers for the altar area, the costs will be passed on to the family member(s).
Fees: There is no charge for the use of the church for members. Donations to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund are appreciated. An honorarium for the Director of Music is appreciated. An honorarium for the Altar Guild is appreciated. The family may make arrangements with the Funeral Director to cover donations.
Families may plan for a reception to be held in the parish hall at St. Mary’s In-The-Hills. Arrangements for refreshments and hospitality should be made by the family, in accordance with parish policy. Typically $300 covers the cost for a reception for groups up to 100 persons. An appropriate donation to the parish for the cost of supplies is expected.
It is fitting and proper for a Christian to plan her or his funeral in advance. The clergy of the parish are available to offer advice and direction in these matters, and the parish office maintains files of such plans and preferences.