The Funeral Customary

Grace Church will assist you in making decisions for a beautiful andmeaningful funeral or memorial service. All arrangements should be made in consultation with the officiating priest. In the Episcopal Church, a funeral is a celebration of resurrection.The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised.

The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty 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.”

This joy, however, does not make human grief un-Christian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that the one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.  - Book of Common Prayer, page 507

Baptized Christians are properly buried from the church. The service should be held at a time when the congregation has the opportunity to be present.

The following pages are designed to facilitate the planning of a service during difficult times. Copies of your plans may be kept at the parish office at your request.

“Funeral” refers to a service with a casket present. A “memorial service” uses an identical worship format with an urn or no remains present. This customary is intended to provide guidance for funerals and memorial services. The priest will be glad to assist you.


The Worship Service

Grace uses the Book of Common Prayer,published in 1979. TheHoly Eucharist is customarily celebrated, as funerals are celebrations of the entrance of the deceased into the nearer presence of God. All baptized Christians present will be invited to receive Holy Communion or a blessing.

The service usually takes about one hour if Holy Communion is included, and perhaps half that if there is to be no Communion. It is the family’s decision as to whether Communion will be included in the service.

Participating Clergy

Clergy known by family members may be invited to participate in the service with the permission of the Priest-in-Charge of Grace.

Music at the Funeral Ceremony

There is a wealth of sacred music for the service of The Burial of the Dead. Hymns appropriate for the Burial of the Dead are found in A Liturgical Index to the Hymnal 1982.  A list follows at the end of this document. Additionally, other sacred or classical music may be used.

Readings from Scripture

Scripture selections prescribed in The Book of Common Prayer:

  • A reading from the Old Testament
  • A Psalm
  • A reading from the New Testament
  • A Gospel reading

A deacon, priest, or bishop reads the Gospel. Lay readers read from the OldTestament and the New Testament and lead the congregation in the reading of the psalm.

Families are encouraged to have family members or friends read the lessons. However, please take intocareful consideration the emotional state of those persons.

The following readings are authorized for the service of The Burial of the Dead:


Old Testament:

Isaiah 25:6-9 (He will swallow up death in victory)

Isaiah 61:1-3 (To comfort all that mourn)

Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33 (The Lord is good unto them that wait for him)

Wisdom 3:1-5, 9 (The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God)

Job 19:21-27a (I know that my Redeemer liveth)


New Testament:

Romans 8:14-19, 34-35, 37-39 (The glory that shall be revealed)

I Corinthians 15:20-26, 35-38, 42-44, 53-58 (Raised in incorruption)

II Corinthians 4:16-5:9 (Things which are not seen are eternal)

I John 3:1-2 (We shall be like him)

Revelation 7:9-17 (God shall wipe away all tears)

Revelation 21:2-7 (Behold, I make all things new)



Psalm 21, Psalm 23, Psalm 27, Psalm 42, Psalm 46, Psalm 90, Psalm 106, Psalm 116,

Psalm 121, Psalm 130, Psalm 139. (These may be found from pages 471 to 479 of theBook of Common Prayer.)



John 5:24-27 (He who believes has everlasting life)

John 6:37-40 (All that the Father gives me will come to me)

John 10:11-16 (I am the good shepherd)

John 11:21-27 (I am the resurrection and the life)

John 14:1-6 (In my Father’s house are many rooms)


Flowers at the Service

Family members are responsible for flowers for the service. Flowers may be placed in front of the altar.


No photographs of the deceased are permitted in the nave, except in service booklets.No flash pictures may be taken during the service.

Service Leaflets

The church office produces service bulletins to facilitate worship. The clergy will work closely with the family to produce the service leaflet.

Guest Book

GraceChurch does not provide a guest book for congregation members to sign.Please make arrangements through a funeral home or purchase one separately.


Ushers are expected to fulfill two important responsibilities: seating guests anddirecting the congregation to the altar rail to receive Holy Communion. If a largecongregation is expected, conscientious ushers will expedite the seating of guests andreduce both congestion and noise.

Volunteers from Gracecan serve as ushers, and family and friends may do so as well.

The Procession

The casket will be closed and covered before the procession. Family members mayprocess with the casket or be seated before the service begins.

If the family desires a viewing,it usually is held at the funeral home. If for some reason this is not possible, the parish hall may be used for this purpose.  Pallbearers and/or the funeral home are responsible for facilitating the casket’s entry into the church, placement and exit. On its journey intoand out of the church, the casket is accompanied by clergy.

In the case of an urn, it will be placed on a table before the altar steps and covered with a small white pall. It will be placed there before the service and remain until all have left.

During the Service

The congregation stands at the beginning of the procession and is seated after the openingprayer. The congregation will be invited to stand, sit, and kneel as full participants in theservice, and will be invited to receivecommunion at the appropriate time, if Holy Communion is (per the family’s wishes) part of the service.

Remembrances by family members or friends may be offered after the reading of theGospel. A homilycan be preached by the officiating priest or guest clergy if the family so desires.

Reserved Seating

Pews will be reserved at the front of the church for family members.Please advise the office ahead of time as to how many people are expected to occupy those seats.


If desired by the family, the clergy will accompany them to the place of interment and offer a brief committal service.

Receptions in the Parish Hall

The parish hall may be used for a reception following the funeral.  The charge for non-members is $50.00 per hour for the hall and a flat $50.00 for use of the kitchen. A $100 deposit must also be made, which will be refunded subject to inspection of the hall and kitchen. Non-members must provide proof of homeowner’sor renter’s insurance before use of the hall can be authorized. If the prospective renter has neither, an insurance rider must be obtained.

Members in good standing of Grace are asked to provide a good will donation for the use of the hall and kitchen.


The cost to rent the church is $125 for members in good standing and $200 for all others. 

To defray additional personnel expenses, we require the following honoraria:

Organist                                                                                 $175

Officiating priest                                                                  $175


Suggested Funeral/Memorial Service Hymns
671 Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
688 A mighty fortress is our God (Psalm 46)
665 All my hope on God is founded
208 Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! The strife is o'er (1 Cor 15)
658 As longs the deer for cooling streams (Psalm 42)
695 By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered
487 Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life
669 Commit thou all that grieves thee (Psalm 37)
287 For all the saints, who from their labors rest
151 From deepest woe I cry to thee
326 From glory to glory advancing, we praise thee, O Lord
677 God moves in a mysterious way
379 God is Love, let heaven adore him
690 Guide me, O thou great Jehovah
637 How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord
517 How lovely is thy dwelling place (Psalm 84)
335 I am the bread of life (Jn 6 &Jn 11)
692 I heard the voice of Jesus say
668 I to the hills will lift mine eyes (Psalm 121)
635 If thou but trust in God to guide thee
429 I'll praise my Maker while I've breath (Psalm 146)
620 Jerusalem, my happy home (2 Cor 4-5)
624 Jerusalem the golden (Rev 7 & Rev 21)
194 Jesus lives! thy terrors now (Rom 8 &Jn 14)
526 Let saints on earth in concert sing
621 Light's abode, celestial Salem (Rom 8, 1 Cor 15, 2 Cor 4-5, Rev 21)
702 Lord, thou hast searched me and dost know (Psalm 139)
691 My faith looks up to thee
664 My Shepherd will supply my need (Psalm 23)
14 O God, creation's secret force
680 O God, our help in ages past (Psalm 90)
448 O love, how deep, how broad, how high also 449
455 O Love of God, how strong and true
623 O what their joy and their glory must be (Rom 8, 2 Cor 4-5, Rev 21)
388 O worship the King, all glorious above! (Psalm 104)
666 Out of the depths I call (Psalm 130)
373 Praise the Lord! ye heavens adore him (Psalm 148)
560 Remember your servants, Lord (Mt 5:3-12)
685 Rock of ages, cleft for me
492 Sing, ye faithful, sing with gladness (1 Cor 15)
679 Surely it is God who saves me (First Song of Isaiah) also 678
447 The Christ who died but rose again (Rom 8)
645 The King of love my shepherd is (Psalm 23 &Jn 10) also 646
663 The Lord my God my shepherd is (Psalm 23)
457 Thou art the Way, to thee alone (Jn 14)
338 Wherefore, O Father, we thy humble servants
625 Ye holy angels bright (Rev 7)
618 Ye watchers and ye holy ones (Rev 7)