The Funeral Service
For the called child of God, the funeral service is acknowledging the departed in finding the joy of eternal life in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ through Christian Baptism. This makes a funeral service both a time of loss and a time of celebration. Loss, in that the departed’s presence will be mourned by all those who were touched by them in their temporal life. Celebration, in knowing of the departed’s bliss in their Heavenly home. It is for this reason that funerals at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church (BSLC) are of the highest priority. First to acknowledge the temporal loss that is a result of sin; & second, to hear God proclaim Christ’s victory over sin and death in eternal life.
It is the policy of BSLC that its’ called Pastor serves as the officiating minister for all funerals conducted at the congregation's facility. If another LCMS clergy is desired, it is to be discussed with the Pastor of BSLC prior to asking the other clergy. Non-LCMS clergy are not permitted to officiate.
Membership at BSLC is paramount for a church funeral. Yet BSLC recognizes that there are non-members who are duly a part of both Christ's church and a part of the BSLC family. For this reason, the Pastor has the discretionary prerogative to conduct church funerals for non-members. Also, it must be remembered that a funeral is a prime opportunity for the Law to be preached and the Gospel to be proclaimed. BSLC gives implied consent for its pastor to conduct funerals outside of the BSLC family at local funeral homes for those that the pastor can be reasonably sure departed in the faith.
BSLC does not maintain an active cemetery. Full body or cremation burials are encouraged to be done at a Christian cemetery of the family’s choice.
A funeral is a worship service, care must be taken to ensure that all music keeps with the tone of Christian worship. Music that reflects the Lutheran tradition will be paramount, contemporary selections are possible when pre-approved by the pastor. If the family of the departed wishes to request a particular hymn or song, the Pastor must be told as soon as possible for his approval.
BSLC does not provide musicians for a funeral service. The family of the departed may make arrangements on their own if a musician should be desired, the funeral home may have suggestions for this. BSLC is able to play compact disks through its sound system.
The family of the departed may request their own soloist should one be desired. The selection of music that the soloist may sing must be approved by the pastor.
Flower arrangements are made by and through the funeral director.
The BSLC office will produce the worship service folders.
There will always be appropriate Scripture read. Generally, the Pastor will make the Scripture selections. If there is particular Scripture that the family of the departed would like to have read, the Pastor should be told as soon as possible. Readings that are not from Scripture will not be used during the funeral worship service.
When the need to schedule a funeral arises, the Pastor should be contacted as soon as possible. Final arrangements for a church funeral will be made between the Pastor and funeral director as they keep in mind the wishes of the family of the departed.
A church funeral will not be held in conjunction to ANY lodge ritual or recognition, either at the church, or at the funeral home, or at the graveside committal.
Sharing a person’s memories of the departed is essential for the process of mourning and is encouraged during the times of visitation, both at the funeral home and/or at the church. During the funeral worship service, memories and thoughts of the family and friends may be shared by the pastor who can include certain elements of those memories in the worship service. However, to ensure theological standards are kept in the formal funeral worship service, public eulogies are not permitted during this time apart from the words of the pastor.
Couples who experience the unwanted loss of a child before the child’s birth are encouraged to consult with the Pastor. Funeral arrangements for such situations are generally private and unique to each individual family.
Suicides & Euthanasia
On the basis of Scripture, BSLC is fundamentally opposed to the willful destruction of one’s own life. However, circumstances regarding the “state of mind” of the departed will be considered by the Pastor in officiating this type of funeral and are at his sole discretion in consultation with the elders.
On the basis of Scripture, BSLC is fundamentally opposed to the willful abortion of a child. Mothers and/or Fathers who have experienced the loss of a child from an abortion are encouraged to speak with the Pastor privately. God’s grace is abundant to all those who recognize the sorrow from such an experience.
Funeral Worship Service Expense
Stipends for the musicians and/or soloists ($35 to $125), the Sexton ($35), and the custodian ($50) are arranged through the funeral director. The pastor does not charge to do a member’s funeral; however, a stipend for the pastor is always greatly appreciated.
The Pastor and elders, in conversation with the church council, are empowered to amend the funeral policy of BSLC as may be necessary from time to time.