Funerals at St. Anne’s Church

Copy of Saint Annes Windows-2-45A funeral is used to mark the end of a person’s life here on earth. Family and friends come together to express grief, give thanks to God for the life of the person, and entrust the person into God’s further care. We call the service a funeral when the person’s body is present. We call it a memorial service when there is no body present.

For the sake of convenience, this webpage refers to “funeral,” but most things about funerals apply to memorial services as well. The service may be a small and quiet with just a few people in attendance, or it may be large with many people present.

A person does not have to have been a member of St. Anne’s Church for their funeral to be held here. If we are able to accommodate a non-member, we are glad to do so. However, every funeral conducted in the church follows our guidelines and is done according to the service in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. If you are interested in planning for your own funeral service or planning the service of someone you love, there is information here that will be helpful to you. Of course, you may also call any of the clergy of St. Anne’s Church and they will be glad to assist you as well. Once you have looked over the information here, if you want to move forward in your planning, please call the clergy of St. Anne’s Church at 410-267-9333. A Priest of St. Anne’s Church will meet with you in person to prepare for the funeral.
As a place to begin, here’s what our Prayer Book says about the Funeral Liturgy (worship service):
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.

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.”

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.

Book of Common Prayer, page 507

The funeral service follows a clear plan and comes from the Book of Common Prayer. It includes prayers for the person who has died and the people who mourn. It includes readings from the Bible about the promises of God. It includes a homily (brief sermon) given by the priest who is leading the service. It can include the Eucharist (Communion) or not, and may have music or not.
If the funeral includes music, it may begin with a hymn. Suggestions for appropriate hymns are found here. The the priest says an opening anthem with words that remind us of God’s promises in Jesus in the face of death, and prays an opening prayer. Next come the readings from the Bible. The Bible readings focus on God’s care for us and the hope of eternal life. Suggested readings are found here. Usually people choose one or two readings from either the Old Testament and the New Testament. One of the readings may be a Psalm, such as the 23rd Psalm. Click here for Psalm Choices. Sometimes a hymn is sung between the readings.

The Gospel reading comes next. Suggestions for Gospel readings are found here. The Priest then gives a homily that speaks of our Christian faith in God’s grace, love and mercy, and that in death, “life is changed, not ended” (as our Prayer Book says in one of the Eucharistic prayers). The homily is based on the readings and how the promises of God relate to the person who has died.

After the homily, we say the Apostles’ Creed, which is the statement of faith associated with baptism. When said at funerals it is a reminder of “eternal life given at baptism” (Book of Common Prayer, page 496).

Next we say the Prayers of the People, in which we pray for the person who has died and for those who mourn.

If Eucharist is part of the funeral, it happens at this time. In the Episcopal Church, it is our custom to welcome all baptized people to receive communion (regardless of their age or church membership). We welcome anyone who does not want to receive the bread and wine, or who is not baptized, to receive a blessing instead.

Following the Eucharist (or the Prayers if there is no Eucharist), we have the prayers of Commendation, which means prayers in which we entrust, or commend, the person’s body (if present) and soul into God’s care:

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your
servant [person’s Name]. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of
your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your
own redeeming. Receive him [or her] into the arms of your mercy,
into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the
glorious company of the saints in light. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page 499).

The funeral concludes with a blessing and dismissal said by the priest (and a hymn or music, if desired).

The Prayer Book includes a service for the burial of the person (done at the graveside), called the Committal. The Committal service is also used when ashes are buried, put in a columbarium, or scattered. This is a very brief service that consists of readings and prayers. It may be done before the Funeral (then the Memorial Service follows) or after the Funeral.

The whole funeral may be found here. If you desire the service with older language, sometimes called “more traditional” language, click here.

All funerals follow the same outline as above, but we know that some deaths may be especially unexpected, distressing, or traumatic. The Church has special prayers for funerals for children, or after sudden or violent deaths, including suicide. Talk with the Priest about particular concerns you have.
You may request that a family member or friend give some remarks before the funeral begins. At St. Anne’s Church, when permission is given, a Remembrance is given before the funeral, the worship service starts. The timing of the Remembrance is so that the person giving remarks can then fully attend to the worship, without the distraction of worry about giving the remarks during the service. A funeral is a time to be ministered to, not worrying about one’s ability to serve others.

In many cases it is preferable to make a time for personal remembrances outside of the funeral at the church, for example at a reception. This allows more freedom for the length of remarks and number of people giving remembrances than we are able to provide at church before the funeral service.

It is especially important to know that anyone who speaks must be comfortable and appropriate speaking in a church setting and being respectful in his or her remarks and able to observe the time constraints we have.

Sometimes people are concerned, especially in the case of people who were not church-goers or members of St. Anne’s, that the Priest will not know the person and that they need to provide a Remembrance to make the funeral personal for the person who died. Be assured that the Priest will meet with you ahead of time to hear your memories and learn as much as possible about the person so that they can write an appropriate and meaningful homily.

Remembrance PolicyEulogies or Remembrances by Family Members or Friends

Eulogies are not a part of the funeral service in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. Please talk with the priest leading the service if you are interested in having a friend or family member give remarks before the worship service starts. If the priest gives permission for remarks, no more than two family members or friends may provide spoken remembrances prior to the beginning of the funeral service.
The total time limit for remembrances is a total of 10 minutes. It is helpful for speakers to co-ordinate with each other so that the total time of remarks does not exceed 10 minutes.

You must write out your remembrances and give a copy to the officiating clergy person by the day before the service.
Although remembrances are not part of the worship service, you are speaking in a church setting, where a community gathers for worship. Remarks should be respectful of and appropriate to this setting.

If the priest leading the service has given permission for remembrances, please give the person giving remarks a copy of this policy.

Each death and each funeral is different. You might feel numb at first then a mixture of grief, gratitude, joy and anger – perhaps all mixed together. You might be hurting with the tragedy of an unexpected death, or perhaps you are grateful for a long and fruitful life.
Funerals can raise profound personal questions about the meaning of life and death, and this is perfectly normal. There may not be much time around the funeral to properly reflect on these matters, but you can come back to them later and talk with the Priest about how you are feeling and the questions and thoughts this experience has raised. At St. Anne’s, in addition to faithful clergy, we have a caring community of parishioners who will try to help you experience grace, even in the midst of sorrow.

Funeral Planning Form

If you think you would like to plan a funeral at St. Anne’s, you may fill out this form. Print it out and bring it with you when you meet with the Priest, or you can fill it out online and hit the submit button. It will be submitted electronically to the Rector’s assistant.

Funeral Planning Form

All Saints Memorial Garden

The All Saints Memorial Garden is restricted to active members in good standing of St. Anne’s Church.
The Interment Endowment Contribution is $1,000. Checks should be made payable to St. Anne’s Church.

There is also a fee of $200 for site opening for burial of cremains in the garden ($300 on holidays or weekends). Please make checks payable to Mark S. LaBuda.

Funerals at St. Anne’s Church are conducted by staff members, assisted by volunteers from the church. For family of St. Anne’s Church members who are currently pledging (giving to St. Anne’s financially) and for members of the Church who were pledging, there are no fees, other than those associated with altar flowers, some of the staff members, and, if requested and available, special music and extra musicians. For people who are not members or not pledging members, we include a fee for the church and clergy that supports the ongoing ministry of our parish church. For a schedule of these fees, please contact the church office.