For those who have suffered a loss and are in immediate need of planning a funeral service we have a comprehensive check list for funeral planning. Please call the Parish Office at 203.966.4515 for assistance and to let the clergy know of your loss. When the office is closed, a recorded message will provide emergency contact information. In some cases, arrangements are made through a funeral director, who will in turn consult the parish clergy. A service can generally be planned and held within three or four days of a death, depending on the availability of the clergy and the church.
In the Episcopal Church, a funeral may be held with the body present in a coffin or with the ashes present; or a memorial service may be held in the church after the remains, whether in a coffin, or ashes, have been committed to a final resting place. The clergy will be happy to discuss the theological and pastoral considerations in all these approaches, as well as in choosing the date for the service. The clergy will also be happy to provide or make referrals for grief counseling.
Following the guidelines of our Book of Common Prayer, baptized Christians are properly buried from the church, and we encourage a service to be held at a time when the congregation has the opportunity to be present. As with other sacramental rites in the church, funerals properly take place in the context of Christian community. You do not have to be a member of St. Mark’s in order for a funeral service to be held here.
The clergy will meet with the family to plan the service, including any music, in accordance with the liturgy provided in the Book of Common Prayer. There is no set fee for a funeral service at the church; fees will be determined by the services rendered. Arrangements for flowers for the altar are also made and paid for by the family; the clergy will assist in providing a referral for a florist.
St. Mark’s can provide space for a reception following a funeral; but the family will need to make arrangements for the reception to be catered, in accordance with the policies and procedures of the church. Clergy will also accompany the family to the cemetery to do a graveside committal service either before or after a service held in the church.
We commend to you the following description of the burial service of the Church from the Book of Common Prayer (p. 507):
“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 separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ [Romans 8:38-39].
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 one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.”
May God bless you in this time of mourning, lighten the burden of grief, and through the gift of grace bring you in due course to wholeness and peace. +
--The Rev. Peter F. Walsh, email@example.com or 203-966-4515 x101
PLEASE NOTE: The clergy are available to all parishioners to discuss funeral arrangements at any time, and are happy to make preliminary plans for a service in accordance with your wishes at a time when you are healthy and able to make choices about the service.
The St. Mark’s family is extremely blessed to have both the St. Mark’s Columbarium and the West Road Cemetery for the interment of the cremated remains of Parish members and their families.