A Comforting Hand in a Time of Need:
The death of a loved one can be a very difficult experience to navigate, even for Christians. When we lose a loved one, we are filled with grief as grief is the final expression of our love for that person. Yet, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13.) Through faith, we believe our separation is only for a season and that our loved one rests from their labors in the arms of a loving God. It is our desire and privilege to walk alongside of families in their time of grief.
We pray that this guide will be helpful to you and your family as you navigate the loss of your loved one and prepare to celebrate his/her life.
Date and Time of Funerals:
Funerals held at First UMC of Warren are to be arranged in consultation with the pastor and church office prior to being placed on the church calendar. The church will work with the family to find a date and time that works best for them, but there are times when the building is unavailable and services may need to be planned around already scheduled events. In order to properly prepare, we do ask for 3 to 5 days advanced notice.
Who Will Officiate?
Pastoral ethics in the United Methodist church mandates that the Pastor of the church conduct all funeral services held in the church building, unless the Pastor agrees to allow another to step into that role. At that time, the Pastor will issue an invitation to share in the funeral or act on behalf of the Pastor. Any requests for another pastor or lay person to officiate or assist in the service must be approved by the Pastor.
At First UMC of Warren, we believe that walking alongside of people in times of grief is part of our ministry. Therefore, we strive to keep the costs to a minimum. There is no expense for the use of the sanctuary for a funeral/memorial service. However, there are expenses for personnel that may need to be part of the service. These expenses include:
Music: In the Christian tradition, music plays a large role in worship. It is the church policy that our organist is used for all worship services when available. Our organist will always be called upon first. $150 made out to the organist.
Custodial: A additional service calls for additional custodial care in order to prepare the building for ministry. The fee for the custodian is dependent upon the extent of services needed. $50-100 made out to the custodian.
Media: We live in a digital world, and many families wish to bring elements into the service such as: picture videos, poems, hymns, as well as streaming the service for family who cannot attend in person. $50 made out to the media tech.
NOTE: Any picture videos or other digital media for the service will need to be provided by the family and received at least 2 days prior to the service.
Pastor: Walking alongside members of the congregation in their time of grief is part of the pastor’s role in ministry. For church members, there is no fee for this. If the family wishes to offer the pastor an honorarium, that is acceptable.
Expenses for Non-members or Inactive Members: As United Methodists, we believe that the world is our parish. Therefore, conducting funeral/memorial services for both non and inactive members is a normal part of our ministerial obligation. The same fee scale applies. However, it is at the discretion of the pastor to allow the use of the church facilities and is based on the availability of the pastor. A pastoral stipend of $150 is encouraged.
Structure of the Service:
We believe that these services should be personal and reflect the life of the deceased. When held in the church and led by a pastor, they are also a service of Christian worship. Therefore, they will be Christian in nature. We have put together a sample order of worship knowing that there is flexibility.
Call to Worship
Naming of the Deceased
Time of Remembering
To help us prepare for the service, we ask that you provide a picture and the obituary. These should be digital and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When held in the church building, we encourage the use of sacred Christian music. The Pastor can assist in the selection of hymns during the funeral planning process. We also understand that our God is a diverse God who can speak to us through other musical expressions, and sometimes other music may speak to the occasion and the life and nature of the deceased. Any secular music will need to have the approval of the Pastor.
If pictures or a picture video are to be used during the service, they must be submitted to the church office no later than 48 business hours prior to the service for review and integration into the service. All pictures should be in .JPG format, and picture videos should be in .MP4 format. We ask that they be submitted on a flashdrive. The family is responsible for putting picture videos together.
Displays and Mementos:
Families may wish to display mementos or photographs of the deceased and his/her family. The following guidelines would be applicable in these situations:
- Any displays or pictures must be appropriate to a worship setting.
- No nails, tacks, staples, or screws shall be put in the walls or attached to the pews. Command strips are acceptable.
- All decorations must be removed within 2 hours of the conclusion of the service.
- First UMC will provide the use of up to 3 easels as well as 8 plant stands.
- No furniture will be removed from the building.
- The church has a lectern that can be used for a guest book. The family will need to provide the guest book.
The church does not provide a nursery worker for funeral services. The nursery is available that includes a monitor for viewing of the service.
Gathering together to share stories and be in fellowship with one another is a normal and healthy part of the healing process. If available, the Fellowship Hall can be used for such gatherings.
Church Members/Constituents: For church members, the church is there to help provide a time of fellowship following the service. Our Kitchen Team has put together several menu options depending on the need. Options include: desserts and coffee, sandwiches and salads, or a full dinner. The fee for this meal is the actual cost of the food provided. Desserts will be provided by the church ladies at no expense.
Non and Inactive Church Members: Non and inactive church members may utilize the facility for a fellowship meal for a nominal fee. They will be required to provide the food and refreshments as well as people to serve and clean up. Additional custodial fees may apply.
To honor the deceased, the family may wish to request a contribution to the church in lieu of flowers. We are grateful for these gifts as they allow us to continue to be the presence of Christ in our community.
If you have any further questions, please contact the church office at (586) 264-4701 or via email at email@example.com. We will be happy to assist.