General Information

Death is, for now, a reality for all of us. Though we await the time when Jesus our Lord will return to bring eternal life, by raising us as he was raised, and redeem creation - for now we must face death as Christians: mourning but with hope.

The death of a member of the Church should be reported as soon as possible to, and arrangements for the funeral should be made only under the direction of the priest who will consult with the family. We are not a funeral chapel or event venue space. Our Sanctuary is a sacred place to perform our liturgy for the repose of the soul under the direction of the priest. Though we will ensure Christians from all denominations have a proper Christian burial following our customs.

Christians are properly buried according to ancient forms and traditions which in their present version are found in the Book of Common Prayer. Our service as a Requiem Eucharist serves four purposes: worship to God for his Sons' victory over death, prayer for the repose of the soul of the deceased Christian, reminder of the ultimate truths of the Christian Faith concerning death and eternal life, and finally to give the family and friends and opportunity to come before God's throne seeking comfort and strength during this time.

With that in mind all Burial Rites here adhere to the following:

  1. Our liturgy assumes a funeral service in the Church with a Eucharist. This is the default around which things may be shortened. This liturgy is called ”Burial of the Dead” or sometimes Burial Office.
  2. Our liturgy is focused on prayers for the deceased in the context of worship by Word and Sacrament in the Eucharist. It is not just “for the family” nor is it just a “family celebration” or “gathering”. It is both a worship service and the final prayers for the soul of the person as they pass into the presence of their Lord and Savior.
  3. It is a right for all Baptized Christians to be given a proper burial. Under special conditions we may do a burial for a non-Christian using a short service for that purpose that does not include a Eucharist.
  4. We do not have “just a graveside” in our Prayer Book. What we do have is a very quick 8 — 10 minute Committal service at the grave which is not intended to be a full service, but happen at the end of the Burial Office.
  5. Our tradition does not have an “open casket” funeral. Any open casket farewells are done at a wake or a viewing at the funeral home the night before.
  6. Our tradition does not have the option for a eulogy or other family lead presentations. These may be done either at a wake/viewing, or after the Committal at the grave, or at a reception, or any other time not part of the liturgy.
  7. Readings during the funeral must come from the Bible.
  8. Under normal circumstances all music must come from the Episcopal Church Hymnal. Other special music may be requested, but only Christian music will be considered. Instrumental pieces may also be considered for particular reasons.
  9. Flowers are allowed in moderation. Typically two bouquets.
  10. Up to two family members may read sections of the Scriptures during the service.

Please contact with Office with any other questions.

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St. Stephen's Episcopal Church