FUNERALS & MEMORIALS
How do I schedule a funeral at Holy Comforter?
The death of a member of the Church should be reported as soon as possible to the priest of the congregation. to contact him please call Parish Administrator, at 336-227-4251 or email [email protected] . In case of emergency or off hours call the Reverend George Silides at 907-321-0507. If death is imminent, it is always appropriate to call the priest and have him or her present. Please see Page 490 of The Book of Common Prayer for more information on prayers and considerations. Holy Comforter has held, and will continue to hold, services for non-members where for various reasons the family of the deceased wishes the person to have an Episcopal service. Those arrangements should be made with the Rector of the parish. All funeral arrangements should be made in consultation with the priest. The conduct of the service is the responsibility of the Rector of the parish. If the family of the deceased desires the participation of a minister who is not on the staff at Holy Comforter, they should first contact the Rector of Holy Comforter and discuss that matter with him or her fully. It is strongly encouraged, where possible, that funerals for baptized Christians occur in the church rather than a Funeral Home. The service should be held at a time when the congregation can be present, giving due consideration to day of the week, normal work hours, holidays, and Holy Days. The guiding rule for planning a funeral service is that it is first and foremost a worship service praising God and giving thanks for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The coffin is to be closed before the service, and it remains closed thereafter. It is appropriate that it be covered with a pall or other suitable covering. A covering is also provided for the urn or container for cremated ashes. Any visitation with an open casket would take place prior to the service. The casket is closed prior to arrival at the church. The Committal (interment or the burial) may take place before or after the service in the church. You may find Holy Comforter’s internment policy by calling the church office.
The Church will prepare a basic bulletin similar in content to a Sunday morning service. The family of the deceased is responsible for providing information requested, such as full name of the deceased, birth and death dates, and any other information requested by the Rector or staff. No obituary information will appear in the bulletin. The family will be responsible for printing bulletins if anything more than basic information is desired.
The church Music Director/Organist will play for funeral service unless other arrangements are made with the Rector and Music Director. The Rector is the final authority in the administration of matters pertaining to music. Secular music may not be used. This includes love songs, show tunes, popular music, music composed for secular occasions, and music composed by friends or relatives. (Such music may, of course, be played at any reception following burial.) The Music Director will advise you about suitable music and the appropriate places in the service for music. Music Director’s Fee: It is expected that the Music Director be offered an honorarium of $150 for his/her time to prepare, practice, and play for the service.
The church facilities are available to the active members of Holy Comforter without charge. There are no fees for the use of the church or for the services of the priest who officiates, though a donation is encouraged to the Rector’s discretionary fund. There is a fee charged for the additional time of the sexton to clean and prepare the church and for his/her time after the funeral. The fee will depend on what is required.
The sanctuary is the portion of the church served by the clergy and the acolytes, with the altar as the focal point. The Altar Guild is responsible for the care of this area. Holy Comforter is a beautiful setting and flower arrangements should be simple. Spectacular displays distract from the importance of worship and are not permitted. Flowers are only allowed in the sanctuary behind the altar. Only live floral arrangements are permitted and no ribbons, cards, or messages should be attached. If the florist delivers arrangements with ribbons or cards, those items will be removed and saved for the family. There are size restrictions for arrangements due to space in front of the altar and on either side of the cross at the high altar. The church office staff, Rector, or Flower Guild coordinator can advise your florist if necessary. Floral arrangements are customarily left for the Sunday service when possible. If the service falls during Lent when no flowers are used on Sundays, the family may wish to take the flowers home after the service. All other floral arrangements will be put in our parlor or great hall if a reception is to follow. Otherwise, any additional arrangements or plants will be put aside until after funeral service. The family needs to make arrangements to take home any plants and flowers that will not be used in the church on the following Sunday. The church is not responsible for transportation of the flowers.
A post funeral service reception may be held onsite in the parlor or Great Hall. Holy Comforter’s Sunshine Committee can arrange for a simple luncheon or coffee/tea/cookies reception (or, if no reception is planned, arrange for a meal to be taken to the family the evening before the funeral). You may request this ministry by asking the Rector. The chairperson of the Sunshine Committee will then contact you directly. The family may also opt to use a caterer. It is expected that caterers will furnish all linens and serving pieces. Caterers are responsible for removing their materials immediately following the reception. The kitchen should be left in the condition in which it is found. Serving alcohol at a reception is generally not appropriate.