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St. Paul’s Funeral Planning Guide and Worksheet

       “The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its 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, pg 507

          As Christians, we know that death does not have the final word. Through God’s grace, Jesus has conquered sin and death forever. As we profess in the Apostles’ Creed, we believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

          Funerals are among the times that we as Christians do the task of the Church the best. We comfort one another in our grief, we gather in community, and we proclaim Christ crucified and risen. A Christian funeral is not a tribute to how wonderful you were, but instead it publicly affirms the saving power of God, as demonstrated in your life. We tell how God’s story interacts with your story. Baptismal imagery is important because it reminds us of God’s saving deeds. As Paul writes in Romans 6:5, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

          In the days following a death, it can often be overwhelming for family members to put the details of a funeral together. Whether it is following a long illness or a surprising accident, your loved ones may wonder what your wishes really were. This worksheet is an opportunity for you to think about these things now, discussing them with your family, friends, and priest. A copy will be kept in a confidential file at St. Paul’s to assist the priest and your family in planning your funeral. It is not a legally binding document, but a guide and starting point for having conversation about what is to come.


To aid your survivors, you should consider the following subjects and gather necessary information in a central location. Make a concise record of the information, and notify appropriate people of its location.

Personal affairs records including date and place of birth, marriage, etc

Personal lawyer or trusted friend

Family records including birth, marriage, and death certificates, Divorce, adoption, or naturalization papers

Military service personnel file

Insurance policies

Social Security Information

Property records:  Real Estate, automobile, etc

Stocks, bonds, securities

Bank Accounts

Safety Deposit Box

 Basic information

Full name:

Date of birth:                                                 Place of birth:

Date of baptism:                                           Place of baptism:

Date of confirmation:                                   Place of confirmation:

Date of marriage:                                         Place of marriage:

Spouse’s name:

Survived by:

Preceded in death by:

Next of kin and/or those making funeral arrangements:

Work and education:

Hobbies, activities, and passions:

Care of the body

This worksheet is not a binding document, but it can guide your loved ones in

making decisions. Please talk with your family about these options now. Some

decisions require separate signed documents.

 Organ donation (circle one):                       Yes      No

Donation for research (circle one):            Yes      No

Autopsy (circle one):   None unless legally required     If it will benefit medical research

             Final decision regarding autopsy to be made by:

Cremation (circle one):        Yes                  No

Have you done any pre planning with a funeral home? (circle one):     Yes     No

            If yes, which funeral home?


The visitation is an opportunity for friends and family to gather, often in the evening

before the funeral.

Please Circle One:     No visitation    Visitation at funeral home     Visitation at the church

Would you like the priest to lead a short service of prayer and memories with the

            family before the visitation? (circle one):     Yes     No     Unsure

 Funeral service

The priest of St. Paul’s normally preaches and officiates at funerals held at St. Paul’s. Other clergy may participate in the service at the priest’s discretion and invitation. At St. Paul’s, a white funeral pall covers the casket as a reminder of baptism, and the paschal candle is lit as a reminder of Christ’s triumph over death. Episcopalians leave the casket closed as a sign of resurrection. Communion can be a comforting option.

 Funeral location (circle one):    St. Paul’s Church        Funeral Home     Other _____________ 

Body/cremains present? (circle one):      Yes (funeral)      No (memorial service)

Liturgy (circle one):             Rite I  (Pg. 469 BCP)           Rite II  (Pg. 491 BCP)

Communion? (circle one):     Yes     No      Unsure

You may choose one Old Testament reading, such as:

Isaiah 25:6-9 (He will swallow up death for ever)

Isaiah 61:1-3 (To comfort those who mourn)

Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33 (The Lord is good to those who wait for him)

Wisdom 3:1-5, 9 (The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God)

Job 19:21-27a (I know that my Redeemer lives)

A suitable psalm, hymn, or canticle may follow.

The following Psalms are appropriate: 42:17, 46, 90:112, 121, 130, 139:111.

You may choose one New Testament reading, such as:

Romans 8:14-19, 34-35, 37-39 (The glory that shall be revealed)

1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 35-38, 42-44, 53-58 (The imperishable body)

2 Corinthians 4:16––5:9 (Things that are unseen are eternal)

1 John 3:1-2 (We shall be like him)

Revelation 7:9-17 (God will wipe away every tear)

Revelation 21:2-7 (Behold, I make all things new)

A suitable psalm, hymn, or canticle may follow.

The following Psalms are appropriate: 23, 27, 106:15, 116.

Please choose one Gospel reading, such as:

John 5:24-27 (He who believes has everlasting life)

John 6:37-40 (All that the Father gives me will come to me)

John 10:11-16 (I am the good shepherd)

John 11:21-27 ( I am the resurrection and the life)

John 14:1-6 ( In my Father’s house are many rooms)

Homily and/or Remembrance

You may choose to have a homily or remembrance offered by the Celebrant, or a member of the family, or a friend.  If so, who would you like to invite to offer the homily or remembrance?  __________________


Through music, we are often able to express what words alone cannot. For services at the church, St. Paul’s Organist and Choirmaster will normally be the musician. In some circumstances, other musicians may participate at the priest’s and Organist and Choirmaster’s discretion and invitation. All music during the funeral service must in some way reflect our faith in Christ and our hope found in the promises of Easter. In selecting music, it is important to consider how the hymn proclaims Christ crucified and risen as demonstrated in the life of the deceased.  Favorite hymns of the deceased or family may always be requested, even if they don’t appear on the list. 

The following list suggests a number of hymns from the 1982 Hymnal .

Easter Hymns “The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the       resurrection.  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised. ” BCP 507

174     At the lamb’s high feast we sing

  • Alleluia, Alleluia! Give thanks to the risen Lord
  • Welcome, happy morning!
  • He is risen, he is risen!
  • Awake and sing the song

188      Love’s redeeming work is done

191     Alleluia, alleluia! Hearts and voices heavenward raise

194      Jesus lives!

199      Come, ye faithful, raise the strain

  • Now the green blade riseth
  • Good Christians all, rejoice and sing!
  • Christ the Lord is risen today!
  • The strife is o’er, the battle done
  • We walk by faith and not by sight


Hymns of Praise and Thanksgiving “The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy… ”                         BCP 507

379    God is Love, let heaven adore him

390      Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

  • Now thank we all our God
  • I sing the almighty power of God

400      All creatures of our God and King

  • Praise, my soul, the King of heaven
  • O Bless the Lord, my soul

429      I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath

Hymns to Jesus Christ, Our Lord

447    The Christ who died but rose again

455    O love of God, how strong and true

460    Alleluia! Sing to Jesus

473    Lift high the cross

478    Jesus, our mighty Lord

482    Lord of all hopefulness

  • Come my Way, my Truth, my Life
  • Be Thou my vision


Hymns to the Holy Spirit

508      Breathe on me breath of God

516      Come down, 0 Love divine

Hymns for the Saints and the Church Triumphant

287     For all the saints

293     I sing a song of the saints of God

620     Jerusalem, my happy home

623     O what their joy and their glory must be

625     Ye holy angels bright

Hymns of the Christian Life and Pilgrimage

  • Lead on, 0 King Eternal
  • Rejoice, ye pure in heart!

635      If thou but trust in God to guide thee

636 & 637   How firm a foundation

645 & 646   The King of love my shepherd is

652     Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

658      As longs the deer for cooling streams

  • The Lord my God my shepherd is
  • My Shepherd will supply my need
  • All my hope on God is founded

671      Amazing Grace

680     O God, our help in ages past

687 & 688  A mighty fortress is our God

690     Guide me, O thou great Jehovah

692     I heard the voice of Jesus say

Hymns of the Church and the Church’s Mission

  • How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord
  • Christ is made the sure foundation

525      The Church’s One Foundation

541      Come, labor on

Hymns for Burial

356     May choirs of angels lead you to Paradise

358     Christ the Victorious, give to your servants rest

Paraphrase of the Nunc dimittis

499    Lord God, you now have set your servant free

Navy Hymn

608     Eternal Father, strong to save

Including Others In Your Service

There are several opportunities for including friends and family in the service. 

Assisting minister:

Pall bearers (up to eight):  

Readers (up to three):

Ushers (two to four):



Burial (circle one):        In the ground           Cremation

If internment in the ground, have you secured a cemetery plot?  (circle one):    Yes    No 

            If yes, where:  __________________

If inurnment (cremation), have you arranged for a niche in St. Paul’s columbarium?

            Yes     No     Elsewhere: __________________

If you desire to have cremains scattered, please indicate if this is to occur in St. Paul’s

            columbarium, or elsewhere:  __________________

  Funeral Reception

St. Paul’s is happy to provide food and hospitality at funerals.  Please understand that some individual choices may not be possible, or appropriate in the church’s setting.  We will do all we can to accommodate your wishes which follow:

Military Honors

Those who have served in the military may be eligible for military honors. A flag is

usually placed on the casket after the funeral for transport to the burial.

Have you served in the military? (circle one):        Yes       No

What branch?                                               When? 

If you would like Military Honors, please describe:

Memorial gifts

I have shared with my next of kin where financial gifts in my memory should be

            directed. (circle one):       Yes       No 

Recipients include:    

            St. Paul’s Episcopal Church:     Yes      No

            Other:   ________________________

            Other:   ________________________

Gifts are to be in lieu of flowers (circle one):    Yes     No

            If so, how should the gifts be directed?:   ______________________

Planned giving (optional section):

I have included St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in my will (circle one):    Yes     No

I am a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s Legacy Society (Circle one):   Yes    No

I have planned another type of deferred gift (circle one):      Yes      No

            Please list: Life insurance, gift-annuity, charitable trust, etc:

If you have circled yes above, you may wish to note the following:

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is included in my estate plan for:

            Percentage: _______ %     Estimated value of gift: $__________

            Fixed amount: $__________

Charges by St. Paul’s Church for the Columbarium

          (prices subject to change)

Purchase of niche                                         $700

Price of opening and closing niche  $250

Price of memorial plaque                            $250

Please share any additional details or requests in the space below, or attached to this document:

Name of person preparing this form (print):     _____________________

                        Signature:  ______________      Date:   __________

Do you desire a visit with the priest to discuss these plans? (circle one):   Yes    No

Please feel free to call upon the priest at any time for help with issues of death,

dying, grief, or mourning. 

 Please return this worksheet to:

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

605 Clay St.

Lynchburg, VA 24504

(434) 845-7301