The conclusionary ritual known as a funeral, carries with it a two-fold purpose:
- To remember that person the way we knew them in life.
- To say “goodbye” to their physical presence that will no longer be part of our lives
When a memorial-funeral creates an accurate memory, reflection, or picture of the life that person lived, it allows each of us who survive to tap into our own memories of our relationship with that person, and also creates the possibility that we could resolve or complete what has been left emotionally unfinished for us at the time of the death.
Understanding the purpose of funerals can be very helpful as the pastor plans to minister to a grieving family. More than an opportunity to present a message about heaven, a funeral presents a myriad of opportunities and needs that promotes the love of God and the kindness of believers to be expressed to a grieving family. Understanding these opportunities and needs enables the pastor to be more sensitive in providing meaningful and thorough ministry to families in need.
- Funerals provide a structure through which spiritual, psychological, and social support can be provided to the survivors during the initial stage of mourning. A well-designed funeral service carries out and reflects the core beliefs and values of those receiving ministry, thus validating, and accentuating the relevance and significance of their faith.
- Though funerals serve as a time to remember and honor the deceased, funerals are really conducted for the living. They bring survivors closer together for needed community support, affirming that life goes on. Meaningful funerals are doorways of healing for the bereaved.
- Funerals provide a time of order and structure during what may seem like a time of disorder and chaos in the lives of the survivors. The funeral should be carried out with a sense of dignity.
- Funerals can help satisfy the need of people to do something for the deceased.
- Funerals help people accept the painful reality of death. In accepting the reality of death, there is, of necessity, a transition that occurs in the life of the survivors. Funerals assist mourners in beginning to acclimate to the changed relationship between themselves and the deceased loved one. In other words, the relationship with the deceased shifts from that of physical presence to that of memory.
- Funerals provide a time and a place for acknowledging and releasing emotions.
- Funerals allow the Church to proclaim its most significant doctrine: the resurrection. An ideal funeral sermon should:
- Comfort with the truth of Scripture
- Instruct listeners about the way of salvation
- Remind all of the certainty of death
- Invite people to take Christ as their Savior
- Funerals begin the process of reintegrating the bereaved back into the community.
- Funerals remind people of their own mortality and cause them to search for answers concerning their own eternal destiny.
- Funerals bind the social group together through present experience and collective memory. They help the group adjust to the loss of one of its members and affirms to the group the continuity of life; though one of their members has died, the community lives on.
Preferred Order of Service for Funeral Services
Viewing will be done at the beginning of the service. Families may have time for viewing no more than two hours prior to the service. Once the family has been seated, the casket will be closed and not opened again under no circumstances. This is not negotiable for funerals at Shiloh Church Garland. In the event that family request private time with their dearly departed loved one, this too must take place prior to the funeral service. The reason for this policy is intended to minimize the pain suffered by the family of the deceased. Once the message has been preached, there should be nothing else that would cause the family to regress into brokenness.
- Processional – Funerals at Shiloh Church Garland will begin with clergy leading the family in with music (track or live) that is appropriate for a Christian Church service.
- Scripture Reading – must come from the Holy Bible as it has been canonized
- Prayer of Comfort
- Obituary – in the event there is a video compilation that is to accompany this segment of the program, videos should be no more than 5 minutes in duration. Anything beyond that would not be appropriate during the funeral service.
- Resolution – Shiloh will only read one resolution and the others will be collected and given to the family. If the deceased is a member of Shiloh (they have personally joined Shiloh), then the resolution will come from Shiloh. There will be consideration given to those who are members of professional, fraternal, and/or school alumni associations.
- Expressions – because, in part, our responsibility is to protect the family from undue burdens while they are grieving, we will limit the number of persons who may speak during the service to three. Persons giving expressions can represent the family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors. Those who are a part of a recognized organization may be allowed to make a presentation during the resolution period.
- Celebration Message – The Senior Pastor is responsible for supplying the pulpit for funeral services of members of Shiloh Church Garland. In the case of non-members, who are using the church’s facilities are required to seek approval for anyone who will be preaching the eulogy or offering eulogistic remarks at Shiloh Church Garland. The pulpit is the responsibility of the senior pastor.
- Recessional – like the processional, the recessional is to be led by clergy and do so to appropriate music that is in keeping with a Christian worship service.
Restrictions for funeral services
- Shiloh does not do “parting views”. Under no circumstances.
- Shiloh will not begin a funeral after 1pm unless special circumstances arise. The senior pastor will make such determinations alone or in concert with other pertinent leaders at the senior pastor’s discretion.
- Shiloh does not conduct funerals on Sundays.
- Shiloh will not conduct funerals for persons or families who are of a different religious affiliation other than Christian. We reserve the right to refuse to serve a family in the case that we believe that there may be conflicting beliefs that do not align with our understanding of the Holy Bible.
- All remains must be inside of a casket.
- We will not conduct funerals of gang members where there is a credible threat to the church.
- Be advised that the use of cameras and recording equipment is prohibited. The Church may stream services, but no other recording devices may be used during services.
- Shiloh will not be responsible for any expenses that may occur while conducting the service. For instance, the church is not responsible in whole or in part for anything related to the funeral costs.
- Shiloh will make provisions for up to 50 family members of a member of the church in the event of a repass. After 50 meals, it will be the responsibility of the family to accommodate additional persons. (This has been suspended during Covid)
- Shiloh will provide a flower arrangement for those who are members only.
- Shiloh does not permit the consumption of alcohol or that of controlled substances on the campus. Violators will be asked to leave immediately.