A Christian funeral is a service of thanksgiving – thanksgiving for the life of the person who is no longer among us, and thanksgiving for the hope we have through faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, the funeral both remembers the deceased and proclaims our hope in Christ. A funeral is always a service of worship, so the decorum and focus of worshipping God will be central.
To assure that funerals will always be consistent with these principles, the following policy has been established:
1. The pastor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC) will preside at all funerals held in the church. Other clergy may assist as approved by the pastor of CELC.
2. Services at funeral homes will follow all applicable guidelines below.
3. The pastor should always be contacted by a funeral home representative or family member BEFORE a service is scheduled to assure pastoral availability. The pastor may not be available if not consulted about scheduling in advance.
4. Ordinarily, only funerals for members of CELC and their immediate families will be held in the church. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the pastor.
5. The CELC pastor will preside at funerals for non-members as other duties allow. These will typically take place in a funeral home or other off-site setting.
6. The Order of Worship for funerals will be consistent with the liturgy in the Lutheran Book of Worship or Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Family members are encouraged to collaborate on planning the service; however, the pastor is ultimately responsible for decisions about liturgy, Scripture readings, etc.
7. If a CELC Funeral Pre-Planning Packet is on file in the office, wishes expressed therein will be followed as closely as possible and appropriate.
8. Advanced notice will be required in order to arrange an organist for the service.
9. Any music and/or additional musicians must be approved by the pastor. The use of secular songs in the church is usually not appropriate.
10. Paraments will be the color of the day or season of the church year. They may not be removed or replaced.
11. The casket is always closed prior to the service and remains closed throughout the service. A time of viewing may take place in the Narthex prior to the service if the family desires.
12. When the deceased has been cremated, an urn or other appropriate container is typically at the front of the church/funeral home during the service.
13. If flowers are to be delivered to the church, arrangements must be made with the church secretary to make sure they will be delivered when the secretary is on duty.
14. No flowers may be placed on the altar. The pastor has final approval of the placement of flowers and other items in the church.
15. The church provides a funeral pall for covering the casket before it is brought into the service. This is the only covering for a casket in the church.
16. Members of the family or close friends are invited to participate by serving as Scripture Readers. A time of remembrance may also be included in the service; this is usually limited to prepared remarks by one person selected by the family.
17. An “open mic” where everyone is invited to share recollections of the deceased is not appropriate for the funeral service. Families may wish to include this time of sharing in a bereavement meal or wake.
18. Communion is always an option for funeral services at the discretion of the family. Invitation will be made for all baptized children of God, regardless of denomination, to commune. Communion will typically be by intinction.
19. The ceremonies or tributes of social or fraternal societies have no place within the service of the Church.
20. We are unable to prepare or print bulletins for funeral services. The pastor will provide an order of worship to families who wish to do so on their own.
21. If a bereavement meal is desired at the church, a representative of the Hospitality Committee should be contacted as soon as possible. Cost and contents of the meal are at the discretion of the Hospitality Committee. Even if food will not be furnished by the committee, they must be involved in planning the meal.
Funeral fees are based on the deceased’s relationship with the church:
Pastor: No fee required $200.00
Church: Free* $115.00
Sexton: $50.00 $50.00
Organist: $125.00 $150.00
Sound Tech (if needed): $50.00 $50.00
*Use of Zick Hall: Free* NOT AVAILABLE TO NON-MEMBERS
Sexton (Zick Hall) $50.00 N/A
*The Church and Zick Hall are available for use by members at no charge. Donations are accepted to help defer the cost of utilities, etc.
Checks for payment to use the Church or Zick Hall should be written to “Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Checks for the Organist or Pastor or Custodian should be written to “their name.”