“In Life, in death, in life beyond death … God is with us, we are not alone.”
Our Church lives out the ministry of compassion during the most difficult times of life. Our congregation is a loving and caring faith community and we are sensitive to the sorrow you, your family and friends may be experiencing. Our church stands ready to provide a special funeral or memorial service and has the resources to help you with the grieving process. When someone we love dies, there are many things to consider, many decisions to make, often when we are in the midst of shock and pain. The minister of Lakefield United Church is available to assist you at the time of death.
The United Church approach to funerals and memorial services:
As worshipping congregations, part of the work that we are called to is to celebrate and remember those who have lived among us for a time and to comfort the bereaved in their time of sorrow. Just as Jesus offered comfort and compassion to all, so we are called to minister to those who come to us in a time of loss.
We offer this ministry in the context of a worship service. We believe that the presence of God and God’s gathered people offers healing and comfort as the life of one of God’s children is celebrated and their death is recognized. We believe that death does not mark the end of our relationship with God but that, upon the death of our earthly body, our spirit is reunited with the source of all life and love, our Creator God. Just as in this life, Jesus showed us how to live in deeper, fuller relationship to the Father, so too, in His death and resurrection, we are assured that Love does not end, that God’s desire is for all to be gathered together in the eternal community of faith.
God has created us as unique individuals. Each person’s life journey is different. Each person has offered their own gifts to the lives of their families and the various communities that traveled with them. So. too, each person’s funeral service should reflect that life so that all who come to celebrate and remember will be comforted.
The celebration that is offered will both honour the memory of the one who has died and comfort those who mourn. Comfort is usually derived when the structure of the funeral service is familiar and the mourners are assured that nothing untoward will happen that might further increase their grief at a time of heightened emotions. Families who prefer not to celebrate the life of their loved one in the context of Christian worship may wish to consider secular options available through funeral homes or other venues.
Basic Order of Service:
The United Church of Canada recommends a Celebration and Remembrance of Life Service of Worship as follows:
• Opening Words of Scripture
• Gathering of the funeral family
• Words of welcome and intent
• Opening prayer
Words of Comfort
• Eulogy (by a family member or friend)
• Special music (or hymn) (or poem)
• Scripture passage
• Reflection (by the Minister)
• Special Music (or hymn)
• Prayers of Celebration and Comfort
• The Lord’s Prayer
• Commendation (Entrusting the deceased to God's care)
• Committal at Graveside (if requested)
Venue and Presider(s)
Funerals and memorial services will ordinarily be held in the sanctuary of the church. They are presided over by the Minister of the Pastoral Charge or, with the agreement of the Minister, jointly led with other clergy or approved Lay Worship Leaders.
Length and Format of the Service:
This service offers both a familiar structure and opportunities for personal remembrances. We also wish to be mindful of the length of the service, as an overly-long service can tax the patience and stamina of people already under stress. Eulogies by friends or family members can be read and family or friends can be asked to read words of scripture or poems that might offer comfort. Other personal remembrances (for example, power point presentations) are best offered during a time of fellowship which usually follows the service.
It is the tradition in some families to have an “open casket” viewing of the deceased at visitation before the funeral service. This can be the day before at the funeral home chapel or accommodated prior to the service at the Church. The Minister may be helpful at this time to lead in prayers for the person who died and the funeral family and friends that gather. Please ask if you would like the minister to be present for this private time of remembering.
As a funeral or memorial service is a form of worship service, musical selections should be those which would be suitable for Christian worship. There may, however, be secular selections which are compatible with the intent of worship and which had special meaning for the deceased or his or her family. These may be suitable during times when mourners arrive or depart. All musical selections should be discussed with the Minister when planning the service.
Use of Facilities:
An explanation of fees for use of the building and minister, organist and church custodian can be obtained through the church office.
Receptions following the service can take place in auditorium at Lakefield United Church. The church office will assist in making this arrangement and can provide information regarding fees involved.