In the Episcopal Church three liturgical rites can be celebrated for the Burial of the Dead.
They are the Eucharist of the Resurrection (often called a “Requiem” which means “rest” because that is at the heart of the church’s prayer for our departed loved ones.) , the Commendation of the Departed and the Committal of the Body. All of the above are available but nothing is done without consultation with the family and loved ones involved.
The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised. This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that the one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn. The liturgy is also an expression of our belief that nothing can separate us from each other in Christ. We still love, care and pray for those who have died, and we believe they still love, care and pray for us.
Some thoughts about death and dying…
Christians often speak of joy at the time of death because we believe that death is an entry into life everlasting, a life lived fully with God. Grief has its place and the tears we shed are an important part of our prayer at the time of death. Christians give thanks for the lives of those we mourn and we honour them even in our grief.
A part of living faithfully means that we try to be good stewards or caretakers of all that God has given us. But stewardship does not end with death. As Christians, we take seriously what happens to our bodies and we take special care with those who we no longer see. Good stewardship of God’s gift of life includes having a legal will. Good stewardship includes our declaring what limitations we might wish to place on acute medical care. Good stewardship includes helping others know how we would like for our body to be honoured. Donation of healthy organs to those in need is to be encouraged. And some choose to give their bodies to science for the education of those who will care for others when they are gone. Such choices need to be discussed with loved ones.
In the Episcopal Church cremation is an acceptable alternative to the interment of the body. The cremated remains of a body are often called “cremains.” They are often interred in cemeteries or places of significance to the deceased or their loved ones. Sometimes the cremains are scattered at a significant place (or several places).
The liturgy for the Burial of the Dead is also a place to acknowledge outwardly a sense of thanksgiving for the life we are given. The liturgy is also an expression of our belief that nothing can separate us from each other in Christ. We still love, care and pray for those who have died, and we believe they still love, care and pray for us. It is extremely helpful if you let the parish know if you would like particular arrangements regarding the liturgy. These plans are then kept on file in the parish office. Plans for musicians and participants in the service can be made in advance.
Other items to be considered are where and when your family and friends might gather. Plans can be made in advance for the kind of reception or gathering you might find appropriate.
At the Time of Death
An important way to prepare is to have a “call list” both for yourself and for those who will have to deal with your death when it occurs. This is especially important if you live alone. Members of your family should be aware of this list and know where you keep it. We suggest that the list include the names and telephone numbers of the following people:
1. Family members
2. The Clergy
3. An undertaker or funeral home
This list might also include other close friends as well as your solicitor.
It is always possible and, indeed to be encouraged, for one to have a list of one’s preferred funeral arrangement on file with the Rector. This can be completed and returned to the Rector where it will remain in your parish file until needed. We suggest that members of your family keep a copy of the preparatory arrangements and the call list as well.
Is there a fee?
No! There are no fees on the part of the church. A donation however, is always welcome!
Fees should be arranged re musicians, flower arrangers, etc and the funeral directors are great at helping you with those tasks.
Contact: Our Priest, Father Mel (Phone: 01381 622 241 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org