All Hallows Parish
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Unction and Funeral Service Information

Overview

It is helpful and important to contact the parish priest when a loved one is near death or as soon as possible after the death, so the priest may assist the family in responding to the death of the loved one, in making decisions, and to prepare for the funeral service. When a person is near death the ministrations of the Church may be provided.Ē (BCP p. 462).  There are many lovely ways to pray with a dying loved one and our clergy can help.

The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy.  It finds all meaning in the resurrection.  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too, shall be raised.

Christian burial is marked by three characteristics.  First and foremost, it is an act of worship wherein we glorify God for the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Second, it is a time when members of the Body of Christ gather to comfort one another and to offer mutual assurance of Godís abiding love.  Third, it is a liturgy of celebration whereby we give thanks for a deceased loved one and commend that person the care of Almighty God.

Contact a Funeral Home

Make arrangements with a Funeral Home.  A commitment of the time and place of the service should not be given to the Funeral Home without the express
agreement of the Rector of All Hallows' Episcopal Church.

The following decisions are made by the family or friends of the deceased:
- selection of a casket or urn,
- arrangements for interment or cremation,
- the Funeral Director will help prepare an obituary and place it in requested newspapers.
- Funeral Homes also offer a variety of other services and their personnel will offer helpful suggestions.

Worship Services

We will use one of the Burial services provided in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and choose prayers and hymns that your family agrees to hear, sing and say. A funeral can be held at our Chapel location (250 seating capacity) in Davidsonville or at the Brick Church (125 seating capacity) in Edgewater, with or without Holy Communion.  The priest will coordinate the date and time of the funeral with the director of the funeral home that the family has contracted.  The clergy of All Hallows' are expected to officiate at all worship services, unless permission and invitation has been extended to another clergy person.  Funeral services in Funeral Homes are discouraged, but will be permitted under special pastoral circumstances.

The emphasis of the funeral service is a celebration of the life of the deceased and the hope of a resurrected life with Christ. The order of service for funerals is according to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, which has two funeral liturgies. Rite I service uses traditional Elizabethan English, while Rite II service uses contemporary English language.  All Hallows' will prepare a bulletin so that the congregation may easily follow the order of service.

During the Service the priest will preach the good news of  Godís love and our salvation, making reference to the life of the deceased.  However, one or two family
members or friends may each speak for 5 minutes at the beginning of the funeral service, following the opening hymn.

The family can choose the Lessons from Holy Scripture for the burial service.  The lessons are read by a friend, family member, or a member of All Hallows.  The Gospel lesson is read by the priest.

Music at funerals must be sacred in nature. Hymns are normally drawn from the 1982 Hymnal, Lift Every Voice and Sing or Wonder, Love and Praise.  Hymns not found in these hymnals may on occasion be used if the music can be secured and copyright permission is granted. The Music Director at All Hallows will play the organ at all funerals unless the organist and rector give permission for another organist to play. Vocal and instrumental solos must be approved by the Director of Music.  Music from compact discs or a digital music player, is discouraged.

The liturgical color for funerals is white. White is the color used for many of the great feasts of the Church and symbolizes the joy of the Resurrection. The frontal on the altar, the hangings on the lectern, the pall on the casket, and the ministerís vestments are all white. The paschal candle, which is lit at Easter, baptisms, and funerals, is placed by the body to symbolize the presence of Christ and the victory of light over darkness.  The All Hallows Altar Guild will prepare the altar for the burial service for your loved one.

Order Altar Flowers Ė Two arrangements of live flowers that fit the brass containers and the space at the Altar are needed for the celebration of the life of the deceased.  All Hallows' recommends Bloom Florist in Edgewater as they are familiar with flower arrangements for our Services.  Additional flowers in the service are not necessary. Flowers are not placed on the casket in the church during the service.  Additional flowers may be used for a reception or at the graveside.

In the Episcopal Church, the Holy Eucharist -- also called the Mass, Holy Communion, or the Lord's Supper -- is frequently celebrated as part of funeral and memorial services.  The Holy Eucharist is our central sacrament, celebrating Christ's death and resurrection.  A celebration of the Holy Eucharist as part of a funeral or memorial service reminds us that we also share with Christ is his death and resurrection.  In the Eucharist, we also share in the heavenly banquet with the deceased and with those who have gone before. The celebration of Holy Eucharist adds an additional 20 minutes to the length of the service.  All baptized Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation are invited to share in the Lordís Supper.

When the casket is present for the funeral, it is closed prior to the funeral and covered with a white cloth called a pall.  The pall reminds us of the white garment of baptism and that the promises of baptism are fulfilled at our death.  The cross and clergy lead the casket into the church and family members may follow it, if they wish, or they may be seated prior to the beginning of the service.  At the conclusion of the service, prayers of commendation are offered around the casket and the clergy leads the casket out of the church with the family following.  A funeral service without a body is properly called a Memorial service.  It is conducted in the same way as a funeral service with the exception that the prayers of commendation over the body are not used.

Cremation is an acceptable and dignified way of treating the deceased's body.  In a sense, cremation merely hastens the natural process of returning a body to ashes and dust.  When the ashes, sometimes called "cremains," are present during the service, they are treated the same way as a body in a casket.  They are placed on a table at the front of the church.  They may be processed in and out of the church or they may be placed on a table before the service begins.  The ashes may be interred before or after the funeral service or at a later date.

Individual grave sites and family plots are available at the Chapel in Davidsonville and at the Brick Church in Edgewater.  Burials at All Hallows' Cemeteries are generally reserved for members of the parish.  Contact the Parish Office for fee information and other details.  

The Parish House located behind the Brick Church may be used following the funeral service for small receptions, but the family or friends must provide the refreshments. 

Since the time to prepare and play at a funeral service is in addition to the time contracted with our Organist, a $250 fee is paid directly to the Organist by the family or through the Funeral Home.  An honorarium for the priest's additional time needed to prepare for the service is appreciated.  The Church is available without charge to members of All Hallows' and for non-members an offering to All Hallows' is much appreciated so we can continue to provide this historic Church to support other families within the community and continue to share God's love for all.

The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not be in want
He makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters
He revives my soul
and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me
You spread a table before me in the presence of those
who trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
-Psalm 23