Funerals are services of public worship in The Episcopal Church and follow the Burial Office as outlined in the Book of Common Prayer (Rite I, page 469 and Rite II, page 491). Note: Links to The Book of Common Prayer online open in a new window.
Customs and more
Preparing for Death
Communicants and members of St. Peter’s are encouraged to make their burial plans in advance and share them with loved ones and the Parish Office. An “Advanced Planned for Burial” form is available at the parish office or by clicking here to download, review, and complete. Periodically, St. Peter’s will offer opportunities to reflect on the Burial Office and to assist persons with planning. Additionally, The Book of Common Prayer encourages all adults to have a will with provisions for young children and bequests for charitable and religious purposes. Please contact the Office of the Rector to learn more about Planned Giving and how vital it is to the life and ministries of St. Peter’s.
When a communicant is close to death, friends and family are encouraged to call the parish office (704-332-7746) to notify a priest and other pastoral care ministers to provide pastoral support.
At the time of Death
At the time of a parishioner’s death, please call the Parish Office (704-332-7746, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or the Clergy On Call (704-749-6175, 24/7 access) in order for a priest to provide the Ministration at Time of Death (Book of Common Prayer, page 462). This comforting liturgy may also be read with family members and loved ones soon after the person has died.
Planning the Service
Upon notifying the parish office, staff and/or clergy will work with the friends and family of the deceased to find a suitable time for the funeral liturgy. Funerals are services of public worship in The Episcopal Church and follow the Burial Office as outlined in the Book of Common Prayer (Rite I, page 469 and Rite II, page 491). It is important first to speak with the clergy before the date, time and logistics for burial can be communicated; several factors must be considered before final arrangements can be made. The clergy and parish will do all things possible to accommodate requests made by the family. Consider completing this form, Advanced Planning for Burial at St. Peter’s (PDF opens in a new window).
Holy Eucharist customarily is offered at the service, and is encouraged for regular communicants.
Holy Scripture – Scripture is read from the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and Gospel. All but the Gospel may be read by a layperson. Scripture suggestions can be found within the Burial Office in the Book of Common Prayer pages 470 – 480 and 494 – 495. Click here to view these options online.
Music – An organist from St. Peter’s or substitute identified by the parish music department is available to play at the funeral and hymns may be chosen in consultation with the clergy. Music is meant to complement the liturgy and emphasize themes of resurrection, comfort, strength, and thanksgiving. Easter hymns are very appropriate. It is also appropriate to discuss with the clergy the possibility of including hymns especially meaningful to the deceased. A suggested honorarium of $150 can be made payable to the organist scheduled to offer music for the service. Click here to view these options online.
Flowers – The St. Peter’s Flower Guild will provide altar flowers for the burial service. The color white is used for arrangements to symbolize the joy of the Resurrection and resemble arrangements used on Easter Day. A suggested donation of $100 is customary to cover the expenses associated with creating floral arrangements. Checks should be made payable to St. Peter’s Church with “altar flowers” and the “name of the deceased” on the check memo line.
Committal of the Body or Ashes
Whenever possible, clergy will accompany the family and loved ones to bury the body or commit the ashes of the deceased. St. Peter’s has both a Memorial Garden and Columbarium (on the church property) in which ashes may be committed and the name of the deceased will be written on a bronze plaque or engraved plate, respectively. Contact the parish office for additional information and for an application to reserve space.
While the clergy do not charge fees for officiating funeral services for St. Peter’s, communicants and members may offer financial gifts to support the life and programs of the church. Memorial gifts may be received to the support St. Peter’s Endowment Fund, particular ministries of the parish, and general operating expenses.
Prayers for the Dead
It is appropriate for the parish to remember the deceased in prayer after they die, on birthdays and anniversaries of his/her death and on All Saints Day.
Visitation or Reception
St. Peter’s Pastoral Care Ministers Team customarily will host a Visitation before the service or a Reception after the service and include light food and beverage provisions (cookies, nuts, water, lemonade, coffee and, by request, tea). Either gathering is a time to allow persons to celebrate the life of the deceased and offer communal comfort to those who mourn.