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 separated us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.’

This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. 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. (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 507)

Before death

We encourage members of Saint Joseph’s to prepare for death by making their wishes for burial and/or cremation known to the vicar and their family or friends. Please consult with the vicar about this matter, as well as about wills and living wills.

If death appears imminent for a member of the church or their family, please call the vicar (at any time, day or night) and she or the deacon will make herself available for ministration at the time of death.

After death

If the vicar has not already been called before the member or relative’s death, she should be called as soon as possible after the person has died so that she may offer comfort and plan the funeral.

The liturgy used at a funeral is the Burial of the Dead, Rite I or II (BCP, p.469 or 491). Normally, the cremated ashes or the body of the deceased is present. A pall is used to cover the container for the ashes or the coffin, which is kept closed. No other covering is used for the container or coffin. At the funeral, it is desirable that family members or friends read the Old Testament and Epistle. The officiate may preach a brief sermon based on the Scripture readings; the family or friends of the deceased do not typically perform this function. There is never a eulogy. Family and friends may share their memories of the deceased at a gathering before or after the service.

The organist-choir director usually plays the organ at funerals, and is compensated by the family. The current rate is $100.00 for the service. If she is not available, the service of another organist can be arranged. Congregational hymns may be selected in consultation with the organist and clergy. The family or friends may make a gift of flowers to be placed on the reredos during the service.

There is no charge for funerals at St. Joseph’s, although a gift to our homeless outreach fund or a clergy discretionary fund may be made.