Funerals

Planning Guide

You can perform a great service for your loved ones by letting them know your preferences for a Service of Witness to the Resurrection. The pastor would be happy to visit with you to talk about your wishes. We can also keep your preferences on file in the church office. Please call the church office at 850-222-4504 to arrange an appointment. 

This Funeral Planning Form is a helpful place to get started.

Columbarium

Our church has a columbarium, a simple structure in a peaceful courtyard setting with niches for funeral urns. If you are considering cremation for yourself or a loved one, please visit our columbarium page or contact the church office to learn more.

About Funerals

From the Directory for Worship in the Book of Order, PC(USA):

W-4.0701: Witness to the Resurrection
In Baptism each Christian shares in Christ’s dying and rising, and receives the promise of eternal and abundant life in Him. We understand the Christian funeral to be the completion of Baptism. In the face of death, we affirm with tears and joy the good news of the gospel and the hope of the resurrection. We do not grieve in isolation, but are sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit and the community of faith.

W-4.0702: Policies for Funerals
The session may establish general policies concerning services on the occasion of death, providing for funerals that are simple, dignified, expressive of good stewardship, bear witness to resurrection hope, and convey the centrality of Christian community.

W-4.0703: Setting for the Service
The service of witness to the resurrection is most appropriately held in the congregation’s usual place of worship, demonstrating continuity with the community’s faith, life, and hope. When there are important reasons not to hold the service in the usual place of worship, it may be held in another place, such as a home, funeral home, crematorium, or graveside. It may be observed on any day, and may, with the approval of the session, occur as a part of the Service for the Lord’s Day. The service may take place before or after the committal of the body. The service is under the direction of the minister of the Word and Sacrament of the congregation in which it is held. Others may be invited to share in leadership at the discretion of the minister of the Word and Sacrament.

W-4.0704: Order of Worship
When a member of the community dies, the body of the deceased will be buried, cremated, donated for medical use, or otherwise disposed of in a responsible and reverent manner. Ordinarily the family of the deceased, members of the community, and the pastor(s) of the church will accompany the body of the deceased to the place of disposition, engaging in prayer, blessings, and other acts of worship.

As a part of accompanying the body to the place of disposition, or at another time before or after this takes place, a more full service of worship may be held. The service begins with sentences of Scripture, bearing witness to the resurrection and the living hope we have in Christ. Worshipers may sing hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs that affirm our faith in the resurrection, everlasting life, and the communion of saints. The act of confession and pardon may be included as an opportunity for healing and reconciliation. Scripture is read and the Word is proclaimed, expressing our trust in the risen Lord; an affirmation of faith may follow. Prayer is offered: giving thanks to God for life in Christ, the promise of the gospel, the life and witness of the one who has died, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the presence of the community of faith; making intercessions for those who grieve, those who minister to the bereaved, and all who suffer loss; asking for faith and grace in this time of loss; and concluding with the Lord’s Prayer (if not included in the eucharistic liturgy). The Lord’s Supper may be celebrated, with the approval of the session. The service ends by commending the one who has died to the care of the eternal God, committing the body of the deceased to the place of disposition (unless this is performed at another time), and sending the people forth with God’s blessing.

The casket or urn may be covered with a pall, a symbol of being clothed with Christ in Baptism. The service may begin at the baptismal font. If using a paschal candle is part of the practice of the congregation, it may be placed near the casket. Music directs attention to God and expresses the faith of the church. Flowers and other decorations reflect the integrity and simplicity of Christian life. The service may include other actions common to the community of faith and its cultural context, provided that these actions do not distract from the Christian understanding of death and resurrection. Fraternal, civic, or military rites are to be conducted separately.

Order of Service

[Placing of the Pall]
Sentences of Scripture
Psalm, Hymn, or Spiritual
Prayer
[Confession and Pardon]
Readings from Scripture
Sermon
Affirmation of Faith
[Hymn]
Prayers of Thanksgiving, Supplication, and Intercession

[The Lord’s Supper may be celebrated at this time.]         

Commendation
Blessing
Procession (Psalm, Hymn, or Biblical Song)

Suggested Scripture Readings

Please pick one from each category

Old Testament

Job 19:23-27 I know that my redeemer lives
Isaiah 25:6-9 God will swallow up death forever
Isaiah 26:1-4, 19 God will keep them in peace
Isaiah 40:1-11, 28-31 Comfort my people

Isaiah 40:28-31 Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength

Isaiah 43:1-3a, 18-19, 25 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you 
Isa. 44:6-8 I am the first and the last
Isa. 55:1-3, 6-13 Ho, everyone who thirsts    
Isa. 61:1-4, 10-11 The spirit of the Lord is upon me
Isa. 65:17-25 I create new heavens and a new earth
Lam. 3:19-26, 31b-32 The Lord’s steadfast love    
Dan. 12:1-3 Many of those who sleep in the dust shall awake
Joel 2:12-13, 23-24, 26-29 Return to the Lord with all your heart
Zech. 8:1-8 Children playing in the streets of the city
Isa. 65:17-25 I create new heavens and a new earth
Lam. 3:1-9, 19-23 The Lord’s steadfast love

Psalms

The following psalms are appropriate for singing or reading in the service.

Ps. 16:5-11 The Lord is my chosen portion
Ps. 23 The Lord is my shepherd
Ps. 27:1, 4-9a, 13-14 The Lord is my light and my salvation
Ps. 39: 4-5, 12 Lord, let me know my end
Ps. 42:1-6a As a deer longs for flowing streams
Ps. 43 Give judgment for me, O God
Ps. 46:1-5, 10-11 A very present help in trouble
Ps. 90:1-10, 12 Teach us to number our days
Ps. 91 The one who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Ps. 103 Bless the Lord, O my soul
Ps. 106:1-5 O give thanks to the Lord
Ps. 116:1-9, 15 The Lord has heard my voice
Ps. 118 Open the gates of righteousness    
Ps. 121 I lift up my eyes to the hills
Ps. 130 Out of the depths I cry to the Lord
Ps. 139:1-12 Where shall I go from your spirit?
Ps. 145 I will extol you, O God my King
Ps. 146 Hallelujah! praise the Lord, O my soul

Epistles

Rom. 5:1-11 Hope does not disappoint                                           
Rom. 6:3-9 Baptized into Christ’s death, raised to live with him
Rom. 8:14-23, 31-39 Nothing can separate us from the love of God
Rom. 14:7-9, 10b-12 Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s
1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20a Christ raised from the dead
1 Cor. 15:20-24a In Christ shall all be made alive
1 Cor. 15:20-26, 35-38, Death is swallowed in victory
                  42-44, 50, 53-58
1 Cor. 15:35-44 The natural body and the spiritual body
1 Cor. 15:50-57 We shall all be changed
Cor. 4:16-5:1 Visible things are temporary, invisible things eternal
2 Cor. 5:1-10 From God we have a house not made with hands
Eph. 1:11-2:1, 4-10 Saved by grace through faith
Phil. 3:7-11 Knowing him and the power of his resurrection
Phil. 3:20-21 Our citizenship is in heaven
Col. 3:1-17 Set your minds on the things that are above
1 Thess. 4:13-18 The comfort of Christ’s coming                
2 Tim. 2:8-13 If we died with him, we shall also live with him
Heb. 2:14-18 Christ was tested in every way    
Heb. 11:1-3, 13-16; 12:1-2 Faith, the pilgrimage, the cloud of witnesses
1 Peter 1:3-9 Without seeing Christ, you love him
1 Peter 3:18-22; 4:6 Christ’s ministry to the spirits in prison
1 John 3:1-3 We are children of God
Rev. 7:2-3, 9-17 These are they who have come out of the great tribulation
Rev. 14:1-3, 6-7, 12-13 Rest for the saints
Rev. 21:1-4, 22-25; 22:3-5 A new heaven and a new earth
Rev. 22:1-5 The Lord God will be their light

Gospels

Matt. 5:1-12a The Beatitudes
Matt. 11:25-30 Hidden from the wise, revealed to infants
Matt. 25:1-13 Wise and foolish bridesmaids
Matt. 25:31-46 The Last Judgment
Luke 7:11-17 Jesus raises the son of the widow of Nain
Luke 18:15-17 We enter the kingdom only as children
Luke 23:33, 39-43 Today you will be with me in Paradise
John 3:16-21 God so loved the world
John 5:24-29 Whoever hears and believes has eternal life
John 6:37-40 Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away
John 6:47-58 Whoever believes in me has eternal life
John 11:17-27 I am the resurrection and the life
John 11:38-44 Lazarus raised from the dead
John 14:1-6, 25-27 Let not your hearts be troubled

Suggested Hymns

GTG refers to hymn numbers in the new Glory to God hymnal; PH the former Presbyterian Hymnal

Opening Hymns of Praise

GTG 275; PH 260 A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Ps. 46)
GTG 4; PH 460 Holy God, We Praise Your Name
GTG 806; PH 253 I’ll Praise My Maker (Ps. 146)
GTG 804; PH 145/146 Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart
GTG 321; PH 442 The Church’s One Foundation

Resurrection to Eternal Life

GTG 264; PH 108 Christ Is Alive!
GTG 237; PH 110 Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands
GTG 245; PH 113 Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!
GTG 841; PH 179 God Is My Strong Salvation (solo)
GTG 826; PH 371 Lift High the Cross
GTG 825 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
GTG 233; PH 118 The Day of Resurrection!
GTG 236; PH 119 The Strife Is O’er
GTG 485; PH 495 We Know That Christ Is Raised

Saints Who Have Gone Before

GTG 325 By All Your Saints Still Striving
GTG 324 For All the Faithful Women
GTG 326; PH 526 For All the Saints
GTG 731 Give Thanks for Those Whose Faith Is Firm
GTG 730; PH 364 I Sing a Song of the Saints of God

God’s Presence and Comfort

GTG 836; PH 543 Abide with Me
GTG 649; PH 280 Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound
GTG 626 As the Deer
GTG 819 Be Still, My Soul
GTG 394; PH 416, 417 Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation
GTG 676; PH 544 Day Is Done
GTG 815; PH 286 Give to the Winds Thy Fears
GTG 841; PH 179 God Is My Strong Salvation (Ps. 27)
GTG 329; PH 191 God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength (Ps. 46)
GTG 436; PH 261 God of Compassion, in Mercy Befriend Us
GTG 686; PH 275 God of Our Life
GTG 331; PH 262 God of the Ages, Whose Almighty Hand
GTG 787 God Weeps with Us Who Weep and Mourn
GTG 813 God, My Help and Hiding Place
GTG 750 Goodness Is Stronger Than Evil
GTG 39; PH 276 Great Is Thy Faithfulness
GTG 832 Here on Jesus Christ I Will Stand
GTG 463; PH 361 How Firm a Foundation
GTG 624; PH 457 I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art
GTG 799; PH 362 I Love the Lord, Who Heard My Cry
GTG 45; PH 234 I to the Hills Will Lift My Eyes (Ps. 121)
GTG 816; PH 282 If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee
GTG 785 In Deepest Night
GTG 830; PH 365 Jesus, Priceless Treasure
GTG 835 Just a Closer Walk with Thee
GTG 79 Light Dawns on a Weary World
GTG 772; PH 332 Live Into Hope
GTG 737 Lord Jesus, You Shall Be My Song
GTG 811 Make Your Face to Shine
GTG 828; PH 359 More Love to Thee, O Christ
GTG 829; PH 383 My Faith Looks Up to Thee
GTG 803; PH 172 My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (Ps. 23)
GTG 53 O God, Who Gives Us Life
GTG 743; PH 198 O God, You are My God (Ps. 63)
GTG 270; PH 252 O Lord, You Are My God and King (Ps. 145)
GTG 833; PH 384 O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
GTG 687; PH 210 Our God, Our Help in Ages Past (Ps. 90)
GTG 424; PH 240 Out of the Depths (Ps. 130)
GTG 834; PH 404 Precious Lord, Take My Hand
GTG 823 Shall Tribulation or Distress
GTG 321; PH 442 The Church’s One Foundation
GTG 802; PH 171 The King of Love My Shepherd Is (Ps. 23)
GTG 801; PH 170, The Lord Is My Shepherd (Ps. 23)
GTG 808 When Memory Fades
GTG 822; PH 400 When We are Living

GTG 807 When We Must Bear Persistent Pain
GTG 661 Why Should I Feel Discouraged?

The Lord’s Supper

GTG 499; PH 502 Bread of the World in Mercy Broken
GTG 818; PH 342 By Gracious Powers
GTG 516; PH 508, 509 For the Bread Which You Have Broken
GTG 517; PH 520 Here, O Our Lord, We See You
GTG 522 I Am the Bread of Life
GTG 515; PH 507 I Come with Joy
GTG 494; PH 510, 511 Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts
PH 515 Now to Your Table Spread
GTG 514 Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness
GTG 495; PH 519 Thee We Adore, O Hidden Savior, Thee
GTG 797 We Cannot Measure How You Heal
GTG 510 We Gather Here in Jesus’ Name
GTG 817, PH 399 We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight
GTG 502 We Who Once Were Dead