In one way or another death comes. Remember, even in such a tragic crisis as this, God is near you, to uphold you and care for you through the loving power of the Holy Spirit. And First Presbyterian is near you, to uphold you and care for you through this time, as well.
What do we do when someone dies?
When there is a death, the community of Christ, the Church, gathers with family members and friends to share in a service of worship. As the Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order states, it is a service of the people of God "to witness to their faith in the communion of Saints, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting, and in which also assurance of God's love and salvation in Christ is ministered, especially to the bereaved." We gather to worship God, sharing sadness at the separation death brings, but also in thanksgiving to God for certain hope we have in Christ that the one who has died is safe with God, and nothing, not even death, can separate us from God's love.
Our minister will talk with you and other family members about the worship service. The funeral director and our minister will coordinate the day and time for the service with you, taking into consideration travel time for those who live out of town.
The service can be a small group, perhaps just family present. We often have services in our Chapel. As natural as it is to want to retreat into the comfort of family or a few friends, it is important, however, to consider the impact of death on others, and your response to them. There may be many people who are touched by the life and the death which have occurred, for whom some worship experience, some expression of thanksgiving, as well as mourning, is needed.
Types of Services/Arrangements
The most common arrangement is the Funeral Worship Service followed by burial in a cemetery. Normally, the casket is closed in the Sanctuary during the service, and taken in procession to the cemetery afterward. The service at graveside is called a "committal service," and is a brief extension of the worship service.
In some cases the "committal service" is held first, followed by a Memorial Service at the church. Since the committal service takes place prior to the memorial service, the family can visit with worshipers after the service, if they desire. The Fellowship Hall is available for this.
A Graveside Service may be held at the cemetery. The service would be much like the one in the church concluding with prayer of committal and benediction.
A Memorial Service Following Cremation is a memorial service at the church or funeral home. Cremains are not necessarily present, but some choose to have them there, with the urn placed on the Communion Table if the service is at the church. They may later be scattered in a special way or place, kept by the family, or buried at a later date.
A Memorial Service Following Donation of the body for research to a medical or research facility is held in the church or funeral home chapel.
The service shall be complete in itself, and any fraternal, civic, or military rites should be conducted at the conclusion of the committal service.
A bulletin outlining the Order of Worship will be prepared by the Church Office, if desired.
Remember, the minister and funeral home director will assist you in choosing the type of funeral/memorial service that best suits your needs.
Grief and Beyond
One of the normal results of death is grief by family and friends. The feelings that come crushing through our consciousness surrounding death are many, and sometimes conflicting and confusing. It is a painful time.
Information may be secured from one of our ministers or our Stephen Ministers are assigned to immediate family of First Presbyterian Church members at the time of death. These caregivers will be there to help, to hold a hand, to listen, and to pray in a caring, Christian relationship. This is designed to be a short-term relationship to help with the initial grief; however, if the grieving individual would like to continue their time with the Stephen Minister, they simply need to ask.
The Mary and Martha Ministry is a ministry that wants to extend the arms of Christ and show our love and support during this time of grief. When a member of our church dies, the chairman of the Mary and Martha committee will contact the family and arrange for a meal to be provided on the day of the funeral. The Mary and Martha Committee consists of most of the women of the church, who lovingly support this ministry.
Our ministers are available to walk you through this time, during and after your loved one's service. Please do not hesitate to call on us.