For the celebration of a funeral, memorial service, or burial, please make an appointment with our priest to begin planning the service. Grief counseling is available upon request. Our music director will be available or will recommend a suitable substitute musician for the occasion.
If you have immediate need, our deep condolences are with you. St. John's requires a minimum of four days to prepare for a funeral. Funerals at St. John's can be scheduled on most Saturdays or, in great need, on a Wednesday or Sunday afternoon. Though we understand the desire to move as quickly towards a funeral as possible in some cases, we do not schedule funerals the week prior to Christmas or anytime between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. We encourage you to surround yourself with your beloved community if death occurs in your family near these Holy seasons. Know that by delaying the service, briefly, to a time when you, and our staff, can focus solely on your loved one's funeral this extra time will ultimately, provide you the space to grieve without the added pressure of surrounding holidays and all the stress that can entail.
We are an Easter people. The Christian liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. Because God raised Jesus from the dead, we too shall be raised. “I am Resurrection and I am life,” says Christ. Therefore, in the Church’s burial service the principal theme is of joyous expectation that “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.”
Nonetheless, we also grieve for our dead because the love we have for one another in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted. Jesus wept at the grave of his friend, Lazarus. So, while we rejoice that the one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Savior, our tears are shed in sympathy with those who mourn. Funerals provide opportunities to express the mixture of these feelings.
In the Christian church, a funeral or memorial service for one who has died serves as a communal time for mourning, an opportunity to remember the departed, and a time to proclaim the resurrection promised by Christ. When you have a death in the family, do not try to endure your grief and shock alone; no one expects you to do so. Do not hesitate to call your parish priest immediately, even if it is the middle of the night. Your pastor cannot take away your pain, but they can stand by you with spiritual resources and advice at a time when pain and shock may make it difficult to think clearly, or to make choices.
Readings and Music
Help with readings, Episcopal services normally include a reading from the Hebrew Scriptures (sometimes called the Old Testament), a Psalm, a reading from one of the New Testament Epistles, and a Gospel reading. If the deceased has a funeral plan that includes selected scriptures, please bring that with you to your meeting with the priest (if possible, at least 4 days prior to the funeral). Friends or family members may, if desired, read the selections from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Epistle, lead the psalm and lead the Prayers of the People. (or the church can provide a reader if requested). The Priest, or a Deacon will read the Gospel prior to the sermon. Below are links to the suggested hymns and readings from our Funeral Rites. Old Testament Readings (choose one) Psalms (choose one) New Testament Readings (from the Epistles, or letters, from Paul and other early Church leaders: choose one) The Holy Gospel (choose one)
The Musician for St. John’s shall have right of first refusal in regard to providing music for all weddings and all funerals in the Parish. The Church Musician may, within their discretion, and in consultation with the Rector, permit other musicians to provide music for these services if such will serve the pastoral aims of the services. St. John’s musician shall be responsible for determining, by audition or other means, that the music and the ability of an outside musician for such services will be appropriate to the standards and liturgical requirements of the Parish. St. John’s musician shall receive a customary minimum fee for weddings or funerals when another musician is requested and permitted to play, unless Musician waives such fee.
The minimum fee for weddings or funerals, exclusive of any rehearsal with requested soloists, shall be $200.00 to be paid by the family no later than the day of the service. Rehearsals with requested soloists, additional rehearsals of the Parish choir and other extraordinary work performed by Musician in connection with weddings or funerals shall be compensated by the family at the hourly rate of $50.