“All we go down to the dust, Yet even at the grave we make our song: ‘Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.’”
The liturgy for the Burial of the Dead is an Easter liturgy, finding its meaning in the grim reality of Death and in the joyous celebration of Death’s defeat when Jesus walked out of the grave. Because Jesus rose again we face death with the certainty that we shall be raised with him.
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)
This joy and confidence is possible even in the midst of our deep sorrow at the loss of one we have loved and relied upon in life. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.
The service for The Burial of the Dead is both a solemn moment reminding us of our mortality, and a celebration of the hope we have in Christ for the resurrection of the Body. Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death and giving us confidence that we will rise to new life as he did. In preparation for the funeral there are some important matters to keep in mind.
BURIAL FROM THE CHURCH
Christians are baptized, confirmed, married, and should, except under extraordinary circumstances, have the burial service in the church which is the common home of the Christian fellowship to which they truly belong.
DETAILS OF THE SERVICE
The selection of hymns, prayers, and scripture are done in consultation with the rector. Music is appropriate for a burial service in the Church. Hymns may be sung by the congregation. Any arrangements for soloists or instrumentalists, if any, must be first coordinated through Barbara Verdile, Director of Music & ORGANIST, 5703-772-4365.
A celebration of the Eucharist may be a part of the burial office. When used, all baptized Christians will be invited to receive. Let the clergy know if Holy Communion is desired.
THE CASKET AND THE PALL
The casket will be closed before the burial service and not be opened again. When it arrives at the Church, it will be covered with a white pall, which symbolizes the sanctity of those who die in Christ. In a military funeral, the pall is replaced with the American flag as the casket leaves the church. Photographs or other memorabilia may be displayed in the Parish Hall or Entryway, but not within the Nave of the Church.
It is customary for the family to provide for altar flowers. This must be arranged through the Altar Guild. A modest use of flowers in the Church is in keeping with the simple tone of the burial office. Two arrangements of flowers, as are used on Sunday morning, are appropriate. White flowers are traditional. Flowers are not used on the coffin when it is in the Church. Contact Altar Guild Director: Judy Hall, 540-554-8462 or Bobbie Wilhelm, 703-999-4045.
If available, the Parish Hall may be used for a reception following the funeral. Please contact the Parish administrator. Please bear in mind that any arrangements regarding outside caterers, set up and clean up must first be coordinated through the Parish administrator, in order that St. Peter’s policies may be made clear to all concerned.
- In the Episcopal Church, all the Sacraments are a free gift from God. There is no charge for a Funeral, nor do the Clergy charge for services. Any gift you would like to give to the officiating Clergy is at your discretion.
- It is customary for the family to provide for Flowers.
Please call the Parish Administrator, if you have any questions.
YOUR OWN WISHES
Now is the time to leave on file at St. Peter’s Church, and in your home, a copy of your own wishes about burial arrangements. Forms for this purpose are available in the Church office.
Throughout the years people have wished to remember loved ones and friends with suitable memorials and thanksgivings to the Church. Please speak with the Rector or Treasurer on how to best structure these gifts to best remember your loved one and maximize the benefit to the family and the Church.