Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
1165 County Road D, Almond, WI. 54909
The following resolution was adopted by the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, (organization), in its Voters’ Assembly/Board meeting held on (date) May 20, 2015.
It is hereby resolved, that the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church adopt a Funeral Policy as described in the following terms:
Purpose: Although funeral services may be held in funeral homes, the best place for conducting a funeral service upon the death of a church member is in the sanctuary of the church to which he or she belonged. At such times of loss, all may be reminded by even the place of service of what our hope and assurance are in Jesus Christ. Therefore, all members of St. John’s are encouraged to use the church building for funeral services, and its sanctuary is offered for the funeral services of Christians whose membership in the church is in some other locality as well.
There can be alternative methods for the conducting of services at the time of death. These could include a private graveside service for family members as soon after death as possible and/or a public service of worship (memorial service) conducted at the church later.
The pastor is available to go with the family to the funeral home to assist in making arrangements if desired.
The following policy’s purpose is to help in these arrangements by providing a
framework that protects the beliefs of the faith and also provides a dignified service that honors the deceased and emphasizes the hope of the resurrection.
Date and Time of Funerals
Dates and times for funerals at St. John’s are to be arranged in consultation with the pastor based on availability and the preferences of the deceased’s family.
Who Will Officiate?
St. John’s pastor will conduct all funeral services held at the church. St. John’s pastor and the Board of Elders must approve any requests for another ordained pastor of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod to assist in the service.
Structure of the Funeral Service
A funeral service held in the church is a service of worship, celebrating the deceased’s life and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Consequently, all parts of the service are to be consistent with the present worship practices of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Generally, the outline for the funeral and burial service as found in the approved LCMS hymnal currently being used at St. John’s would be followed. The family may suggest other items to be included in the service, with the approval of the pastor.
Pastoral Services to Members of Other Congregations
A request of this nature will be considered on a case-by-case basis with approval coming from the Board of Elders.
Funerals for Non-members
Conducting funerals for people who have no connection with the church is a normal part of the ministerial obligation. However, not all the parts of the service (i.e. references to baptism) may be appropriate. By certain omissions and choices of alternate selections this service may be adapted for such funerals. A request of this nature will be considered on a case-by-case basis with approval coming from the Board of Elders.
Music performed at a service of Christian burial is understood as an act of worship, offered to God in devotion, thanksgiving and praise. Therefore, all music used during the funeral service (including prelude and postlude) must be sacred in nature and approved by the pastor. The pastor will consult with the family regarding special requests for music to be used during the service.
Services by Fraternal Orders, Lodges etc.
Services by fraternal orders, lodges, veterans groups or other organizations are not appropriate at a LCMS funeral service. If they are held, they should be limited to the funeral home or graveside, and must be coordinated with the pastor prior to the service. Such services are not to be confused or combined with the official funeral service.
Paraments on the altar, lectern and pulpit will remain the color of the day or season.
Families may wish to display the deceased’s cremains, as well as certain 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.
- All decorations must be removed within 12 hours of the conclusion of the service.
- No furniture shall be removed from the church building.
The funeral home will manage the placement of the flowers and transfer them to the cemetery or appropriate location. Flowers may be left for use on the altar for Sunday worship services especially if the flower calendar is vacant for that Sunday. Contact the church’s Altar Guild for more information. Other flower arrangements may be left for placement other than on the altar.
All caskets must be closed for the burial service, but may be open during the viewing (or preceding the viewing, for the family only), if desired. When closed, the church’s funeral pall covers the casket (see below). The casket remains closed throughout the service. When the service is in a funeral parlor or private house, the casket is closed and in place before the liturgy begins. The funeral director shall be instructed concerning such matters as timing, closed caskets, music, flowers, etc.
The coffin is to be placed in the position with the feet toward the altar. The position reflects the accustomed role of the deceased in the church — facing the altar as part of the congregation. The paschal candle, which symbolizes Christ’s triumph over the powers of death, is lit and placed near the casket as a reminder of the deceased’s baptism into Christ.
Use of Pall
The congregation will provide a funeral pall to be placed over the casket during the service. The pall recalls the white robe given in Baptism, the robe of Christ’s righteousness. The pall further has democratizing value, for it prevents both the display of a costly casket and embarrassment at a simple one. This action of placing the pall over the casket will take place prior to the liturgy. The pall will be the only thing covering the casket while in the church building.
Parking / Traffic Assistance
Parking assistance is generally provided by the funeral home. The church does not have any resources to assist in traffic control on city streets or highways.
Family Fellowship Meal
When available, the church will do everything possible to accommodate requests for a family fellowship meal following a funeral service. St. John’s Ladies Aid will prepare the meal. Family members will be given contact information. If the family wishes to provides its own food, the Fellowship Hall may be used with prior approval.
If bulletins are to be given out during the service, they will be prepared by the church.
Memorials / Trust Funds
In certain circumstances, the family might request a trust fund or contribution to a charitable organization in lieu of flowers. These arrangements must be made with an organization outside the church. The church will not manage, receive or distribute designated funds for an outside institution.
Undesignated funds and funds designated for an established project at St. John’s will be received by the church as part of the Memorial Fund. Funds designated for a project or ministry not previously established will be designated for such only with approval by the Congregation Council.
If the deceased or a member of their immediate family (parent, step-parent, child, step-child or spouse) is a member of St. John’s, there is no fee for the use of the facilities. For all other individuals, additional fees may be assessed according to the church usage fee rate sheet. Fees do apply for other needs including but not limited to; organist, sound board operator, and custodian. Those who have been members of St. John’s but now are considered inactive members will pay non-member fees. Fees are to be paid through the funeral director.