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Worship > Funeral Policy



Funeral Policy for Providence Church


Whereas Providence Church in Pensacola, Fl does not possess its own building, the following policy serves to guide the Session as she comforts those who weep through holy worship:


A funeral or memorial liturgy held in the church is a worship service.  Every element of the liturgy must reflect a reverence for God, fidelity to Scripture and doctrine, and content that is consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Secular content does not have a place in faithful Christian worship.  Elements that might be present in other funeral or memorial settings are not always appropriate in a liturgy on the premises of the church.  The final arbiter of appropriate content, including music, is the Session.


Eligibility:  A funeral or memorial liturgy is normally conducted by Providence Church when the deceased has been an active member of the congregation.

Setting the Time and Date: It is important that the church is notified as early as possible regarding a pending funeral or memorial liturgy.  This is necessary for the notification of appropriate staff, reservation of worship space, arranging for planning the liturgy, and preparation of bulletins.


Planning:  The pastor normally meets with interested family members to plan specifics related to the liturgical content of the funeral or memorial liturgy. The pastor assists the family with Scripture text selections and, in the case of a liturgy led by the church, with hymn selections.


Participants:  Only ministers and chosen musicians participate in leading the congregation through the liturgy.


In the event that a family member wishes to share a message in connection with the liturgy, a written text of not more than 500 words may be submitted in advance of printing the bulletin, for inclusion as an insert with the bulletin. Content must be approved by the pastor for appropriate decorum and theological integrity. The church reserves the right to decline printing unacceptable content.


It is appropriate that any spoken message delivered during a funeral or memorial liturgy be delivered by the called pastor of the congregation.  The pastor may exercise discretion in allowing another pastor, ordained into the Ministry of Word and Sacraments, to share responsibilities for proclamation.


Fraternal or other Outside Organizations:  Since funeral and memorial liturgies within the church are religious services and are subject to the Biblical and theological standards of The Faith, other religious traditions and secular organizations do not have a role and their participation, other than attendance at the liturgy, is precluded.


The only exceptions are for honor guards provided by active-duty uniformed services.


Music:  The church will provide an approved musician to accompany the liturgy.  All music used in the memorial liturgy is chosen by the pastor(s). Hymns/Psalms must be chosen with care in order that it may be consistent with the sacred character of liturgical worship. 


All vocalists and instrumentalists must be vetted by the church musician in advance of the day of the liturgy and prior to finalizing the liturgy and publishing the bulletin.  This includes musical selections and the capabilities of both outside vocalists and outside accompanists.


In the event that the church musician is to provide accompaniment, a minimum of one one-hour rehearsal is required prior to vetting participants.  The church musician, in cooperation with the pastor, will determine the feasibility of special music.  There are no exceptions.


Memorial Service/Eulogies: The practice of audience participation in a time of remembrance is a recent phenomenon first seen in United Methodist congregations. Although this practice has spread, it is not appropriate in a Providence funeral or memorial liturgy.  It is suggested that if such opportunities are desired, time be set aside during a fellowship gathering held at a suitable venue following the liturgy. We encourage that such special moments be held before or after the liturgy. Special music like solos is also appropriate for such times.


Secular music is not appropriate and is excluded.  Sacred music offered by a member of the family, or friend of the deceased, may be considered, but a number of factors are involved.  The length of time between notification and scheduling of the liturgy will often preclude the possibility of completing the steps required.  Any musical offering in these occasions must be approved by the church musician and the pastor.


Photography:  Reverence for God, and respect for those worshiping and in mourning, precludes use of visual recording devices.  Photography or videography, by use of any device, is prohibited within the church in connection with a funeral or memorial liturgy. The only exceptions include photographs of persons present for the occasion after conclusion of the liturgy and removal of the casket from the property. 


Reception:  In connection with a funeral or memorial liturgy for a member, family may reserve a Fellowship Hall for a post-liturgy gathering.  The hall should be reserved for post-liturgy receptions when the date is set. 


Fees: The church musician is also compensated for the extra time required for preparation and services rendered in connection with a funeral or memorial liturgy.

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