I am sure 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. Romans 8.38–3
Death confronts us at various times during our earthly pilgrimage and touches us at the depths of our being when it visits us. When Death occurs regardless of the persons age either young or old it is a life altering event, and can leave us disoriented and afraid. It is important to find ways of approaching death that allow us to acknowledge it, accept it, and move forward in hope.
From the perspective of our Christian faith, dying can be a beautiful and meaningful transition, an opening to a new life – “for life is changed not ended”. The clergy at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church are always willing to be with someone who is dying. We are willing to offer prayer and hope, and to offer a loving and calm presence at a difficult and often frightening time. The clergy will come to your home or to the hospital and will offer prayers for the dying and/or to give the church’s “last rites”.
Over many years and centuries it has been the practice of the Christian Church to gather at the time of death of a loved one in order to reflect on one’s life and to comfort one another in our time of sorrow and grief. We meet to express Christian hope and faith that “in Christ shall all be made alive.”
A funeral service is an opportunity for contemplation, thanksgiving, prayer, and mutual support, a time to be reassured and upheld by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his promise of eternal life for who believe in him.
Grief can be overwhelming, and people are often flooded by a multitude of duties that need to be done in a timely manner. Family conflicts can sometimes become stressed and inflamed. People can become very stressed, and making good decisions can become difficult. The clergy can provide a calm and peaceful presence in the midst of the chaos and always aim to be helpful and offer an objective and caring perspective on things during such a difficult time for you and your family. That is why it is important to make contact with the Clergy as soon as possible.
At SMAC the Funeral service is rooted in the Anglican tradition and we use the Book of Common Prayer. The typical funeral service includes readings from the Holy Bible, hymns, prayers, and a meaningful sermon from the officiating clergy. As we try to help in the comforting and healing process it is helpful if the clergy know if there are special preferences by the deceased or the immediate family, such as favorite hymns or Scripture readings. These help to personalize the service and help a family truly express its feelings and its faith.
Communion is also an appropriate expression of faith at any funeral service and can often be a very meaningful experience for those grieving. This aspect of the funeral is available to everyone and is often requested when this form of worship is part of your spiritual practice or that of your deceased loved one.
A funeral is an important worship service of the church and so here at St. Matthew’s the Clergy makes the final decision on all matters pertaining to the Order of the Service.