Second Presbyterian Church

Worship Memorial Services

2nd Pres


Memorial Services

Faith Compassion Heritage Fellowship

The promise of our faith is that nothing – not life and not death – can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

Second Presbyterian wants to remind you of this promise and be a comforting presence when death comes. Please contact the church immediately when a death occurs. We will help you plan a memorial service or funeral for your loved one.

Download the Funeral Advance Planning Guide.

The Ministry of the Church at the Time of Death

A Ministry of Sympathy and Compassion and A Witness to the Resurrection

None of us enjoys thinking about death, whether it is our own death or the death of someone close to us. The finality of death and the pain of separation causes most of us to avoid the subject. Consequently, few of us have carefully discussed funeral or memorial service arrangements with our families or with our minister.

But we know that death is real, and that death is inevitable. It usually comes with such a shock-wave of grief and bewilderment that it is difficult to think clearly or to make decisions wisely. Sometimes the depth of our feelings prevents us from making choices that are consistent with our Christian convictions, and the result is that the funeral of a Christian is not distinguishable from that of anyone else. So, it is helpful to recall our beliefs concerning death, and to make funeral plans before death comes.

What We Believe About Death

Presbyterians, as all Christians, believe that death has been conquered by God through Jesus Christ. Death is a solemn and mysterious human experience, bringing painful separation from loved ones and friends. However, we remember the bold claim of the New Testament that in Christ, God is the Victor over death and the grave.

The central doctrine of the Christian faith is the resurrection. “Jesus Christ is risen today” is not only the Easter message, it is the message of every day in the year, and it is the foundation of the life of the church. We believe that, as followers of Christ, we will share in his victory. “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by His power” (I Corinthians 6:14). Christians should seek to make the occasion of death a time in which they reaffirm with joy the hope of the gospel. Of course, it is natural to feel sorrow and anguish when faced with the reality of the loss of a loved one, whether that person is elderly, in the “prime of life” or a child or infant. There is a time for grieving. However, for us grief is tempered by our overriding hope and faith in Jesus Christ.

When Death Occurs

It is important that a Minister be notified immediately when there has been a death, so that you may be in touch with the spiritual and practical support the Church can offer. The Minister is available to be with family members as they go through the experience of death, and to assist in decisions as requested, including going with you to the funeral home to aid and support you in the decisions which need to be made. The Minister can counsel you regarding the funeral service and arrangements for it.

The Worship Service

The funeral should take place in the Sanctuary of Second Presbyterian Church, where other significant experiences of worship have occurred in the life of the deceased, the family, and the church family. The minister, in consultation with the family, is in charge of this service.

The funeral service, which should be conducted with dignity and simplicity, is a witness to God’s love offered to all people, a love that strengthens and supports, even in times of grief and loss. It is a witness to God’s promises in Jesus Christ, affirmed in Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and to the sure and certain hope of our own resurrection.

Because the proper purposes of the service are the worship of God and the consolation of the living, it follows that the body of the deceased is not necessary to the service. The service may be held before or after the disposition of the body. If the casket is to be present during the service, it should be closed at all times, so that worship of those present may be directed to God. If the family desires a time for the casket to be open, a time at the funeral home prior to the funeral would be appropriate. The Service of Witness to the Resurrection is complete in itself, and another time and place should be appointed for any fraternal or civic rites.

Emphasis should be placed upon readings from Scripture that declare the Christian hope, and any other readings or music should be consistent with the Biblical affirmation of God’s power over death. As an expression of our common faith, it is appropriate that the assembled congregation join in the singing of hymns which declare belief in the life everlasting. A sermon may be preached which bears testimony to the hope and promises set forth in Scripture. Thanks may be offered for the God-given life of the one who has died, and intercessions may be made for family members and other loved ones who grieve. At the close of a memorial service, when the casket is not present and the family and friends will not be going to the cemetery, it is appropriate for the family to greet friends at the church during a time of fellowship.

Preparing For Death

Death is often surrounded by shock, grief, and bewilderment. There are things each of us can do to make our own death somewhat easier for our loved ones, and to assure that our personal preferences are honored.

  • Have a current will.
  • Make a written statement, in consultation with your spouse, attorney, and/or minister, noting your preferences and listing where significant documents are kept. Keep this statement in a confidential file at home, safety deposit box, etc. where it may be readily found and followed.
  • The Living Will: There is a growing recognition of the right of individuals to participate in decisions affecting their lives when they are near death, and to have their decisions respected by health care providers. The Living Will is a document which enables individuals, while competent, to give directions concerning treatment during terminal illness, including the withholding or withdrawal of life support systems. You may receive a copy of this document by sending a $5.00 donation to Concern for Dying, 250 E. 57th Street, New York, New York 10019.

Living with Death

During long, terminal illnesses, and after the death of a loved one, people need a support system. There may be strong feelings, such as anger or guilt, which may seem inappropriate, but which in reality are normal. Your church can help you. Feel free to discuss these feelings with your minister, or with trusted friends.

The grief process may take a long time. Many people find help in support groups, such as those available through the Home Hospice organization. As Christians, we can also help each other live our faith in this crucial area of human existence.

Remember that the Ministers, officers, and members of Second Presbyterian Church want to be with you and support you as you work through your grief, and as you put your life back together again. Turn to them for prayer and counseling, conversation and support, encouragement and assurance, and God will bless, comfort, and sustain you through your time of loss.

Record your wishes on the Funeral Advance Planning Form. We will store this document in the church office until it is needed. You can change your preferences at any time.


  • Our Columbarium provides a holy place for the interment of ashes following cremation. The
    Columbarium is a place of worship and celebration; a place to meditate and remember those
    who have gone before us.

    Cremation and the Columbarium

    Cremation and interment in a Columbarium are theologically and biblically sound. The church is the center of life – baptism, confirmation, marriage, and worship – so it is appropriate that death and burial should be centered here as well. A hallowed place of interment adjacent to
    the church revives the ancient Christian tradition of having the remains of members of the
    Christian community located as near as possible to the place of community worship.

  • The Columbarium niches and Memorials shall be purchased for and used by the following:

    • Members or former members and their spouses, children, and parents;
    • Current or former ministers and staff and their spouses, children, and parents.

    Requests for exceptions to this policy will be reviewed by the Church Business Administrator and minister(s).

  • Niches will be used for the interment of cremated human remains (cremains) only. The cremated remains of no more than one person are to be interred in a single niche or urn.

  • Columbarium niches are to be used by current or former members and their spouses, children
    and parents, as well as current or former ministers and staff and their spouses, children and
    Each niche holds an urn with the cremated remains of one person. The church provides the
    Niches for the interment of cremains may be reserved for future use by completing a
    reservation form with payment.

  • All rites and services relating to the interment in the Columbarium are subject to the discretion of and conducted by the ministers of Second Presbyterian Church or their designee. A single arrangement of natural flowers and/or a flag may be used on the day of interment only. Any other modification and decoration of niches is prohibited.

  • All niches will be covered with identical granite covers. The inscriptions for niche covers and memorial markers will include name and dates of birth and death only. The inscription will be of a standard type style. The size of the lettering may depend on name length.

  • Full Interment Fee $2,000 at time of printing (includes the urn)

    The cremation costs are not covered by fees paid to the church. The niche urn containing the cremains shall be obtained from the church.

  • A Columbarium Fund has been established and maintained for the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the Columbarium. All fees received will be designated for the Columbarium Fund. It is the intent of the church to maintain the Columbarium in a tasteful, reverent and dignified state. However the church does not assume liability for destruction from vandalism, terrorism or natural disasters.

    The Second Presbyterian Church reserves the right to move the Columbarium to another location within the church property or to another location if the Church is moved from its present location. If such a move becomes necessary all cremated remains will be moved by Second Presbyterian Church at its cost and placed in another columbarium.

  • The Memorial Prayer Garden is an area of the church property available for the spreading of cremated remains. The Policy regarding use of the Prayer Garden is available in the Church office.

  • Memorial Inscriptions
    -For persons interred in the Memorial Prayer Garden $400
    -For persons interred elsewhere $400