Celebrating Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

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1 Celebrating Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Pl a n n i n g Fu n e r a l a n d Me m o r i a l Wo r s h i p Se r v i c e s at Christ Covenant Church Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. (1Peter 1:3-4)

2 Introduction You may be reading this today because you are involved in pre-planning for a future need or because you are helping to make arrangements for the funeral or memorial service of a loved one who has already passed away. The information here is provided to assist you in assuring that the focus will be rightly placed on our Sovereign God and His eternal promises for all of His children. Please begin your work by turning back to the Scripture on the cover and take some time to carefully read, meditate on and pray through its account of the truth that gives us a living hope even in the face of human loss. It is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will give you peace that surpasses understanding, a faith that does not disappoint, and a desire that in all things Christ will have preeminence, especially in the planning and in the service that will proclaim His mercy. We welcome the opportunity to serve you and your family. As the officiating pastor guides you through the planning process, he will make you aware of the areas where you have the freedom to make some decisions to personalize the service, should you desire, and point out specific theological and practical guidelines and traditions that have developed over time, which we honor. All funeral and memorial services are overseen by our Session, as our Lord s Day services are. These services are regulated by the standards set forth in the Book of Church Order, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Holy Scriptures. Thus, the focus is on Christ, His worship, and the preaching of His Word. Please do not hesitate to contact your officiating Pastor or me with any questions. It is our honor to assist you in encouraging those who grieve to look at Christ and consider His victory over every foe. John Haines Director of Worship In Th i s Wo r k b o o k What to Do In the Event of a Death The Planning Process I. Pastoral Care II. Gathering of Information III. Planning the Service Time and Location Burial Visitation and Viewing Worship Service Leadership Service Order Media & Sound IV. Graveside Service V. Family Reception A Word From Our Senior Pastor, Mike Ross The inevitability of death is a reality our society often works hard to ignore. That means many of us are unprepared for its intrusion into our lives when we must confront our own mortality, or when we have lost a loved one. Your church is ready to come alongside you, and your family, as you go through the days and months ahead. Your pastors and church officers want to encourage you with the truth of God s Word and the finished work of our Savior. Those who are adopted by faith into the household of God are heirs to His goodness. Believers have the assurance of eternal life in His presence and the promise of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit right now. It is the comfort of the Holy Spirit and reality of Heaven that allow Christians to recognize death as a loss for those who remain, but an indescribable wonder for the loved one who is now face to face with Christ. This is why the focus of funeral and memorial services conducted in our Sanctuary and led by our pastors is on the worship of our Sovereign God, our Creator and Sustainer. It is our prayer that this ministry provided for you and your family will reflect God s love. As you meet privately, as you seek counsel, as you plan a service that will be meaningful to all who attend, it will be our goal to be your ally in making wise decisions that will help your family draw closer to one another as they draw closer to Christ. Mike Ross Senior Pastor 1

3 What to Do in the Event of a Death When making pre-arrangements, please contact a pastor of your choice to schedule a consultation. As soon as you know of an imminent death, or as soon as a death has occurred, follow these steps: Step 1 - Contact a Christ Covenant pastor ( ), or in case of an emergency, contact the pastor on call ( ) on nights or weekends. Step 2 - Contact the funeral home of your choice. If you d like, the pastor will have a suitable recommendation. Step 3 - The pastor will arrange a time to visit with you & your family very soon. He will guide you through the following: a. Pastoral care, counsel, and other assistance b. Date, time & location of the funeral (This is determined by the church after the pastor has consulted with the family. The pastor will inform the funeral home of the options available.) c. The service plans Step 4 - Our Worship Department Funeral & Wedding Coordinator will call you to coordinate details of the service logistics. She works closely with the officiating pastor, Director of Worship, and the funeral home to assure an orderly and God honoring process. She will also present options on a family meal or reception for family and guests at the church. Such events are excellent choices for sharing memories of the loved one. The Planning Process From this point on, the Officiating Pastor will read or summarize the following pages. As he does, he will fill in the details, which will be used by the Worship Department in planning the service. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions. I. Pastoral Care A. The pastor will greet you and your family and read from one of the following Scripture passages or another similar passage of his choosing. Psalm 27 John 11: Corinthians 15:20-58 Revelation 22:1-5 II. Gathering of Information The pastor will gather the following information: Name of Funeral Home/City or Town: Full name of the deceased: First: B. The pastor will lead in prayer, thanking the Lord for the gift of life in His Son and asking for the Holy Spirit to give comfort to the family, hope in their inheritance, and wisdom in planning the service. C. The pastor will offer his assistance in any way possible and give you his contact information at this time. D. The pastor will read or ask you to read the following: 1. Scripture verse printed on the cover 2. Introduction 3. Word from Our Senior Pastor When finished, he will ask if you have any questions. Most of the questions will likely be answered during the planning process to follow, in which case the pastor will defer until he comes to that point. If there are no further questions, the pastor will proceed to the Gathering of Information. Middle: Last: Date of Birth: Date of Death: Designated Family Spokesperson (primary family contact): Name: Phone: (cell) Other Family Contacts: 2

4 III. Planning the Service A. Time and Location - The pastor will discuss with you the time and location of the funeral. If the funeral is to be at a location other than Christ Covenant, much of the following planning process will not apply. Are you planning to have the service at Christ Covenant? If you are unsure, it is best that we continue the process of planning the service. If your answer is no, the pastor at his discretion will plan accordingly. B. Burial - We do not arrange the burial; the funeral director will handle those details. But we will officiate the burial service. Are you planning to have a burial? Name of Cemetery Since we are a large church with a school, home school activities, and many Bible studies and other events, it is our policy to avoid scheduling funerals at times that will conflict with other activities or related traffic. We will select potential times and days available for the funeral. We do not hold funerals or memorial services on the Lord s Day, due to the rehearsals and preparation time needed for the morning and evening worship. And we do not hold funerals or memorial services in the evenings. Most generally, funerals occur in the late morning or early afternoon Monday through Friday. All funerals and memorial services are in the Sanctuary. We ask that you do not make plans around any date or time until you have those details confirmed by your officiating pastor. Neither he nor the funeral home has the final word on the scheduling of the funeral. Rather, the pastor must coordinate with the administrators of both the Operations and Worship Departments to select the best possible times available. After the pastor has confirmed the service time, he will notify both you and the funeral home. It is also important to understand that in the case of larger funerals or any funeral with a burial procession, we must coordinate with the school and, at times, the Matthews Police Department to assure smooth traffic flow during car pool hours. If there are no questions regarding the process of selecting a date and time, the pastor will proceed to select some potential dates and times. What are two or three times that you and your family would like to request for the service? Option 1 Day Option 2 Day Option 3 Day Time Time Time C. Visitation and Viewing - The visitation is a time where friends and family greet you in the main foyer before the service. The viewing is a time where you, your family, and friends may view the body of your loved one in the front of the Sanctuary. This may be public or private. You may not be sure at this point what you would like to do, and that is fine. The funeral director will handle those details. Have you decided if you would like a visitation? Have you decided if you would like a viewing? In the event that you decide that you would like a visitation or viewing at the church, we will arrange for the following upon request: 1. A stand in the foyer for a guest book that either you or the funeral director will provide 2. A table in the foyer for a few pictures and memorabilia. 3

5 D. The Worship Service - The funeral or memorial service is a worship service and patterned on our Lord s Day worship. The funeral service turns our focus from our temporary earthly loss to our eternal heavenly inheritance. It begins with praise and ends in triumph, and is centered on God s Word, both read and preached. 1. Leadership: The worship service is led by pastors, staff, elders, and Worship Department volunteers of Christ Covenant Church. Although families and guest churches using our facility frequently offer for one of their members or friends to assist in leading the service (as musicians, Scripture readers, testimony deliverers, etc.), we respectfully ask that no one other than Christ Covenant staff plan to lead in the service (with the exception of the message given by a guest PCA pastor). We encourage the remembrances of family and friends at funeral home visitations or the reception following the service, but not during the worship service. This policy conforms to instruction of the Session of Christ Covenant Church to assure that funeral services are led in the same way that we lead Sunday services. With rare exception, our Sunday services are led exclusively by pastors, elders, and staff who are trained and ordained or specifically commissioned by the church to minister in public. It is the desire of the Session to assure that the PCA standards be followed as stated in our Book of Church Order 61-2, the proper object of the (funeral or memorial) service is the worship of God and the consolation of the living, and that Christ, and His resurrection be the focus of the service throughhout. 2. Service Order: The pastor will guide you through the following worship order. This order has been standardized to be used in all funerals and memorial services. The elements of the service in which you may give suggestions are those with the (*). You will see where there is room for the pastor to write in those suggestions for music and Scripture readings. Other than these sections marked with the (*), all funeral services held at Christ Covenant Church are standard. We will do our best to honor your music and Scripture requests given the parameters and time constraints of the service. However, please understand that we may need to edit, omit, or abbreviate as necessary in order to respect other scheduled events; time constraints of volunteers; and to allow unpressured presentation of the preaching of God s Word. *Prelude Congregation will stand as the family enters. The family may request Psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs. Do you have any Prelude requests? Welcome Call to Worship Psalm 150 or other Scripture as approved *Hymn of Adoration This is a hymn which leads us in adoration of the Trinity. Typical selections would be similar to: Holy, Holy, Holy All Hail the Power of Jesus Name All Creatures of Our God and King Come, Christians, Join to Sing Come, People of the Risen King (Getty) Do you have any Hymn of Adoration requests? Invocation Apostle s Creed *Hymn of Response A hymn which affirms our faith in the Lord and His redeeming work. Typical selections would be: Great is Thy Faithfulness The Church s One Foundation Power of the Cross (Getty) By Faith (Getty) Do you have any Hymn of Response requests? Confession of Faith *Old Testament Reading Do you have any Old Testament Scripture reading requests? 4

6 *Hymn of Hope A hymn which affirms our hope in the Risen Lord. Typical selections would include: Christ the Lord is Risen Today He Arose It is Well with My Soul In Christ Alone (Getty) See What a Morning (Getty) I Will Rise (Tomlin) Ten Thousand Reasons [Bless the Lord] (Tomlin) Do you have any Hymn of Hope requests? *New Testament Reading Do you have any New Testament reading requests? *Hymn of Response or Ministry in Music A hymn of prayer in preparation for the preaching of God s Word. This can be a congregational hymn or a solo. If it is a soloist, the individual must be a member of Christ Covenant Church. Typical selections include: How Great Thou Art Be Thou My Vision Great is Thy Faithfulness Speak, O Lord (Getty/Townend) Do you have any Hymn of Response requests? Do you have a soloist from Christ Covenant you would request? *Testimony of God s Grace For those accustomed to eulogies, we offer a Testimony of God s Grace, which will be read by the pastor or a communicant member of Christ Covenant. Should you desire such a testimony, the pastor will ask you the following questions from which he will customize a worship worthy presentation which will honor your loved one s life. How did your loved one come to saving faith in Jesus Christ? How did your loved one exemplify a life of love, faith, and obedience to the Lord and His Word? In what ways did your loved one serve the church, family and community? Pastoral Prayer Message Closing Prayer Benediction Recessional Hymn of Triumph For All the Saints Postlude 5

7 3. Media and Sound: We have trained volunteer personnel who run our sound system for funerals. Although they count it a privilege to serve, their time is limited; therefore we must keep the media production much simpler than that used for Sunday services. We do not allow anyone other than our own personnel to operate our sound system. We do not have the capability to provide a video recording. We will provide: 1. Bulletins 2. Basic sound system support 3. A CD master recording of the service* *This is a live and unedited recording. The quality and reliability are commensurate to our volunteer abilities. We cannot guarantee any degree of audio perfection. If an audio or video recording of guaranteed quality is important to the family, they are more than welcome to use their own equipment or hire a recording engineer to record from the balcony. We are not able to provide a live audio feed from our mixer. IV. Graveside Service If you are having a graveside service, the order is as follows and is led by the pastor: Scripture Reading Meditation Prayer Hymn (Military presentation) Condolences to the Family (Pastor) Dismissal (Funeral director) V. Family Reception If the family desires to have additional ceremonies or fellowship, we ask that these be done at a time after the reception so that the volunteers who are serving are able to honor their own work and family schedules. The Fellowship Committee of Christ Covenant would like to offer a reception with food or refreshments for the immediate family after the service. If this is something you would like, the pastor will contact the ministry leader. Would you like a reception for your immediate family following the service? Pastor s Notes If yes, would you like: Lunch Refreshments only Any food limitations? 6

8 Christ Covenant Church 800 Fullwood Lane Matthews, NC (704) w w w.c h r i s t c o v e n a n t.o r g

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