MEMORIALS AND FUNERALS
Major life transitions are moments when we are particularly aware of God’s grace. The ministry team of St. Stephen’s works together to help bring graceful recognition of the complex dance of loss and new life that is part of a family’s experience when someone dies.
Planning a Memorial Service or Funeral
To plan a memorial service or funeral, you will meet with one of our clergy to create the best service for your family’s care. We strive to honor the faith practice and tradition of you and your loved one, and offer liturgies that span the spectrum from standard Episcopal Book of Common Prayer to those which include prayers and readings from other faith traditions. Our music director is an integral part of the planning team, listening to your heart’s needs to determine the appropriate musical offerings. Our gifted soloists are also available by special request.
Our faithful Altar Guild is there behind the scenes to set the space in respectful beauty. Altar Flower donations are welcomed to help memorialize your loved one.
With this full team in place, we are able to provide significant pastoral care as well as worship planning in this time of need. After the initial arrangements have been made and the bereaved have been assured of the church’s loving support, then a liturgy for the dead is celebrated, normally a Eucharist of the Resurrection. This is because the liturgy for the dead is, as the Prayer Book says, “an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised.”
Making Special Arrangements While Living
Parishioners are well advised to consult with their priest, while they are still in good health, concerning directives they may have for prolongation of life in the event of terminal illness, or in the event of the onset of a medical condition that will leave the parishioner in a permanently comatose state. You may prepare these directives and leave them with the priest, to be implemented if the need arises.
In addition, preparation of a Last Will and Testament governing disposition of a parishioner’s affairs is an act of Christian responsibility and stewardship.
You may also place on file in the parish office a list of requests (discussed beforehand with a priest) regarding your personal wishes for your own funeral. This information can be of great assistance to both the survivors and the priest, when making final arrangements for the funeral.
The St. Stephen’s Columbarium
The term columbarium comes from the Latin columba, “dove,” the symbol of God’s Spirit and of peace.
To allow for burial within the church grounds, St. Stephen’s maintains a memorial columbarium for interment of cremains in the Chapel of the Resurrection on the lower level. At ground level with the lower parking lot, the Columbarium is a place with easy, private access for services held there. At other times it’s best to enter via the main Church entrance and take the stairs or elevator down. You may come and go quietly at any time of day, pausing at the Chapel of the Resurrection in an atmosphere of serenity and peace.
Church members who have learned God’s love through the fellowship and services of the local church may wish to be buried in the church when the day comes, and can expect no more fitting way for their bodies to be laid to rest than to have their ashes placed in the Columbarium of the Chapel of the Resurrection, surrounded by the continual praise and worship of the Eternal God in whose keeping are the living and the dead.
In this special place to remember our loved ones, each niche is covered with beautiful Italian marble (we also have brass niches) inscribed with the date of birth and date of death.
A service of Remembrance is held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in the Chapel of the Resurrection in commemoration of those interred. Worship services are held regularly in the Chapel, thus assuring a sacramental presence in these spaces.
Anyone interested in purchasing a niche should call the Church office, and they will be put in touch with one of the Columbarium Board members.
Contact The Rev.Bill Osborne @firstname.lastname@example.org , or call him at the church office (448-2255) for more information.