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. Our funerals at St. Anne’s, therefore, are 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 page is designed to offer you a basic view of funeral practices at St. Anne’s. For a fuller understanding of our policies and practices, please download St. Anne’s Funeral Customary below.
Who May Have Their Funeral at St. Anne’s?
While our funeral liturgy is offered primarily for members of St. Anne’s, one need not be a member of our church to receive the benefits of Christian burial as we understand and offer them. We are not a funeral chapel, per se, but anyone in search of dignified Christian burial for a loved one is welcome to call upon our clergy and inquire about the possibilities. All funerals at St. Anne’s are conducted by our own clergy in accordance with the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.
At the Time of Death
Your first step is to call one of our priests, regardless of the hour. When death is imminent, we Episcopalians gather around our loved ones, say our prayers, share in the Sacraments, make our goodbyes, and anoint our loved ones as they transition. This is one of the holiest and most important things your priest is able to offer you, and it is appropriate regardless of whether your loved one is conscious or not. We also have a helpful rite for when the decision is made to remove life-sustaining treatment. Please do not hesitate to call in these moments, even in the middle of the night. Your pastor cannot take away your pain, but he or she can stand by you with spiritual resources and advice at a time when pain and shock may make it difficult to think clearly or make choices.
Funerals are public worship services, and as such they should be planned in close consultation with a parish priest. Please consult with the priest prior to establishing a day and time with the funeral home, and prior to the publication of obituaries. St. Anne’s clergy maintain strong working relationships with several funeral homes in Tifton and are happy to assist you in choosing one if needed.
Because funerals are worship, not all customs or funerary wishes are appropriate within the context of our liturgy. For more details on what to expect and how to plan, please download our Funeral Customary.
One of the greatest gifts you can give your family is to plan ahead. Feel free to use St. Anne’s Funeral Customary to make your choices known in advance. These are not legally binding, but may be helpful to your survivors. A printed copy should be kept on file where your survivors can easily access them. A copy may also be kept at the church office.
The Episcopal funeral liturgy is properly held in the church. The church is where we are baptized, where we are confirmed, where we are instructed in the faith, where we meet and enjoy our friends, where we exchange wedding vows, and where we take our joys and sorrows before the Lord week by week. What could be a more fitting place to bid farewell to our loved ones and to commend them to God?
In any case, considerable hardship is involved in carrying out the worship of the Church in a funeral home, as our services assume the presence of an altar with its sacred vessels, linens, vestments, Prayer Books and other appurtenances of worship widely unavailable in a funeral chapel. Any service offered off the church grounds will necessarily be abbreviated and, therefore, less than the full celebration our liturgy offers.
Sermons & Eulogies
At St. Anne’s, it is our practice to reserve the primary preaching/speaking role at funerals to the clergy. Not only does this alleviate the bereaved of the burden of delivering a speech in the midst of grief; it also allows the memory of the deceased to be set appropriately within the a message of Christian hope, the love of God, and the triumph of Jesus Christ. Eulogies by friends and family are not offered during the liturgy but may be shared in other settings such as a visitation or reception.
St. Anne’s maintains a lovely Memorial Garden on its grounds where ashes may be interred after cremation. The Memorial Garden is primarily for members of St. Anne’s but may be utilized by others at the discretion of the Rector. Ashes must be placed in a biodegradable container before interment. Memorial markers such as artificial flowers, statuettes, etc. diminish the integrity and beauty of the garden and are not permitted.
Neither St. Anne’s nor its clergy charge for funeral services. Any gift or honorarium you may offer is greatly appreciated but wholly unnecessary.The following costs are not covered by St. Anne’s. Your chosen funeral home may assist you in the collection and disbursement of these fees:
- Organist’s fee
- Music Minister’s fee
- Altar flowers
- Inscription on the Memorial Garden tablet
Many families choose to designate various charities and organizations for memorial gifts in lieu of flowers. Please consider designating St. Anne’s, which operates its ministries solely on the generosity of its members.
Portions adapted with gratitude from http://ccrye.org/worship_here/life-events/weddings/.