The objective of the memorial or funeral service, as stated in the Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church, is the worship of God and the consolation of the living, during which we commit into the loving hands of a gracious God, the loved one who has died. Therefore, as Paul says, “We do not sorrow as others who have no hope, for we have the great assurance of scripture.” With this attitude, the service can be a comfort to us, as well as a witness of faith to others.
The pastor should be notified at the same time the funeral director is called, so he can provide both comfort and guidance to the family. A conference is normally held at the funeral home, and the pastor can assist the family with deciding the time and place for the service, as well as any other arrangements that may be necessary.
Since we believe that death for the Christian is a triumphant experience where the loved one has passed into the presence of God, the occasion should be one of dignity, reverence and simplicity. The service for a Christian should be conducted in the church. If rites of some fraternal, military, or civic order are desired, they must be approved by the minister.
The service will ordinarily include music and hymns, scripture, prayers, a creed, meditation, and commendation. Elaborate eulogies would be out of place; instead, the theme should be one of hope and promise.
It is not necessary for the body of the deceased to be present, but if it is, the casket must be closed and draped with flowers, a flag, or a funeral pall. The family may choose to use flowers in the sanctuary, as desired.
No photographs may be taken during the service. A single stationary video cameral is permitted at the back of the sanctuary.
A brief committal is normally held at the grave side or crematorium. The family may choose to have the committal prior to a memorial service at the church. We have a memorial garden at OPC for cremated remains and memorials. Go to information about the Memorial Garden.
There is no fee for the use of the sanctuary for memorials or funerals. The pastor and staff organist do not expect an honorarium of fee. These are gifts of service to the family, from the church.
If a small reception is requested following the service, the church will provide beverages and cookies.
“Let not your heart be troubled,
believe in God, believe also in me.”