Guidelines for Funerals and Memorial Services
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, characterized by joy, expresses 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 maintain for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we become 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. (BCP page 507)
The Burial Service
Subsequent to a death, surviving family members and/or those responsible for making the funeral arrangements should contact the Church or Rector as soon as practical. This becomes especially important in order to finalize all required arrangements. Selection of a time for the service should be based on the needs of the family, the expectation of out-of-town mourners and the availability of the Church and clergy. This should be done in consultation with the priest prior to establishing a day and time with the funeral home.
Church of the Apostles uses The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) for all services. The Holy Eucharist is customarily celebrated at funerals; however, it is not required. All baptized Christians will be invited to participate in and receive Holy Communion. The Prayer Book Service of The Burial of the Dead with Communion takes approximately forty-five minutes to an hour, depending upon the number of people receiving communion. The preaching of a short sermon normally occurs at all funerals at Church of the Apostles, with one additional speaker allowed if requested.
The coffin or urn may be placed in the Church where allowed, while extra flowers will be placed in the lobby or back chapel. While in the church, a coffin remains closed and covered with a pall, a hanging placed over the casket instead of flowers or a flag.
If any clergy from outside Church of the Apostles is desired to assist, those details can be discussed on a case by case basis. Guest clergy normally read the lessons and lead prayers.
Readings from Scripture
During the service, one to three readings from the Bible are read. You may request particular readings (from those designated in the Prayer Book) as part of the service planning process. If you would like a family member or friend to read a lesson, please take into careful consideration everyone’s emotional state on a difficult day. (The Church often provides readers to ease the burden of planning for a family.)
The readings authorized for The Burial of the Dead are found in the BCP, as well as at
You may request specific hymns or songs that match our parish resources and the particular musicians serving the day of the service. Musical selections will be led by current parish staff, with guest soloists or musicians invited by them at their discretion.
We will reserve seats at the front of the church for close family relatives. Please let the priest know ahead of time how many for whom you expect or desire reserved seating. The close family normally gathers in our Parlor room 20 minutes before the service. Please note our physical address (and do not mistakenly program a similar address in south Irving into your phone’s map!)
Flowers at the Service
Church of the Apostles is blessed with a competent and talented floral team as well as a florist who knows our unique altar requirements. Please let us know if you wish to choose or request specific altar flowers.
Visitations should occur appropriately at the funeral home. The casket remains closed during the burial service.
The parish office will produce bulletins that follow a standard template. The priest retains final approval of the content.
The funeral home (or family) normally provides a guest book for congregants to sign.
Gifts to the Church by individuals or the family of the deceased provide a welcomed resource to continue serving the community.
At the Graveside
The committal service is brief. Services may start either immediately after the church service or later as desired — in the Church’s columbarium or in a local cemetery. A family may request a more private service or may announce the committal time and place to all.
Ceremonies, such as military honors or those conducted by fraternal organizations, can occur prior to or subsequent to the church’s Committal Service.
Our capacity to host or provide any kind of reception varies with day and weather (and at this writing, construction). Please discuss this with the priest or the person he designates specifically to assist your family.
Cremation is an acceptable practice within the Episcopal Church. If the ashes are to be present at the burial service, please coordinate the delivery of ashes to the church (preferably before the day of the service).
Please let the church office or rector know if there is interest in securing a niche in our columbarium. That requires significant preparation and requires advance planning prior to the service.
If you already have reserved a niche, we will confirm that information as part of the service planning process.
We strive to keep all expenses to a minimum during this difficult time. Contribution to the Church provides needed resources to serve Christians in the Dallas Metroplex.