“In Life, in death, in life beyond death … God is with us, we are not alone.”
When someone we love dies, there are many things to consider, many decisions to make, often when we are in the midst of shock and pain. The ministers of Chalmers United Church are available to assist you at the time of death. Often, in the case of illness, the ministers will already have been in contact.
As Christians, we uphold the dignity and sacredness of life. We believe that life should be celebrated as God’s gift and that, even in death, we are called to celebrate and give thanks for life. Throughout history, Christians have developed rituals – ways of expressing in words, actions and symbols – to mark the occasion of death. Some of these take place in private, or with close family members and friends; others may be a public witness to faith.
Planning a Service to Remember and Celebrate A Person’s Life
As soon as possible after a death, one of the ministers will meet with you to begin planning for an appropriate service. A funeral is a service with the casket containing the person’s body present; a memorial service is a service without the body present. The timing of a service is generally determined in conversation between family members (or ‘next of kin’), the minister and the funeral director. The minister will want to meet with members of the family or close friends to plan the service and gain details about the person’s life. This meeting may take place at the church, in a family member’s home or on occasion, at the funeral home that is handling arrangements.
The service may be a funeral or a memorial service. Either service can take place in the church. A brief service of committal may also take place at the time of interment of the body or ashes at a cemetery or crematorium. The minister will outline the service with those gathered to do the planning. It normally includes scripture readings, a short meditation, prayers, a time of remembrance about the person’s life, and often hymns. Family members or appropriate others may be asked to share remembrances or read scripture. A simple order of service or printed bulletin will be prepared if desired. If the service takes place in the church, it is appropriate to have people welcomed as they arrive. Greeters may be members of the church or family and friends. The funeral home will discuss pallbearers with you if there is a casket present.
Receptions following the service can take place in MacCallum Hall of Chalmers United Church. The church office will assist in making this arrangement.
While the service is an important point in our move through grief, it is not all that is needed at this time. Pastoral Care at Chalmers United Church includes concern for individuals and families after the funeral or memorial service is concluded. One of the ministers will be keeping in touch, if you wish, as weeks and months go by.