A witness to the resurrection
Planning guide to funerals and memorial services
The form and order of the service
In the Presbyterian Church, a funeral or memorial service is a service of worship. Though it is a service for a special purpose, it must fully reflect the beliefs and the practices of the Christian faith, as they are understood by Presbyterians.
At Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church, we believe that the purpose of a funeral or memorial service is to give thanks to God for life and salvation, and to bring word of God’s comfort and hope to those who grieve. The focus of such services is upon the continuing love of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In keeping with the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the service is under the direction of the pastor. Required elements include beginning the service with the reading of scripture and the offering of prayers that give thanks to God and make intercession for those who grieve. Elements that are encouraged but not required include the singing of hymns, a sermon, an affirmation of faith, and the recalling of aspects of the life of the one who died. Any fraternal, military, or civic rites are conducted separately from the church funeral or memorial service.
Scheduling a service
A funeral or memorial service must be scheduled in consultation with one of our pastors (706) 733-2275. No services may be scheduled for Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings.
At Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church, a funeral is a service in which the body of the deceased is present. All funerals are “closed casket” services. During the service, the casket will be draped with a pall provided by the church. Presbyterians understand that all appointments and accoutrements used in worship are to be appropriate to the place of worship and to reflect the integrity and simplicity of the Christian life. A memorial service is in all ways similar except that the body of the deceased is not present due to cremation or other circumstances.
At the time of death, one of our pastors will work closely with family members to plan details of the funeral or memorial service and to extend the care and concern of our congregation to loved ones. You may request that a particular member or members of our pastoral staff lead your funeral or memorial service.
The pastor(s) of Reid Memorial do not charge a fee for presiding at funeral or memorial services. Also there is no charge for use of the church for a funeral or memorial service.
Scripture and music
You may request favorite verses of Scripture, a favorite poem or literary quotation, music, hymns, and/or soloists. In consultation with the pastor, the church organist (or in the absence of the organist the music director) is available to discuss appropriate hymns and service music for the order of worship. Download Memorial Service Music Planning.
At Reid Memorial, we utilize live musicians for all funerals or memorial services owing to the need for
authenticity in worship. We do not use pre-recorded music or
accompaniment tracks both because this precludes other participants from the
body of Christ and because such recordings are historical rather than organic.
Aesthetically speaking, the use of live musicians affords flexibility in tempo,
nuance, time, pitch and all of the other living aspects of music.
The organist’s fee is $100.00 to be paid directly to the organist. (Your funeral director should arrange to handle this payment for you.)
A single flower arrangement may be placed in the chancel during the services. Casket sprays are permitted, however, during the service the funeral pall will replace the spray while the casket is in the church sanctuary.
In lieu of flowers, the family may request contributions be made to the church for the general fund, the building fund, or any other special purpose.
Ushers will be present to seat worshippers and to offer any other assistance needed. Members of the church staff will also be available to assist with parking, etc.
Reception following service
Following a funeral or memorial service at the church, volunteers from our Diaconate can provide a simple reception in the church facilities at which time the family can greet those who attend the service.
If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our administrative assistant (706) 733-2275.
Alpha & Omega