Funerals for All Faiths and Denominations
We are experienced in directing funeral services for families of all different types of faiths, religions, and cultures. Click one of the links below to view an overview of their beliefs regarding death and funerals. We understand you might not agree with the different beliefs or practices, but we are respectful to all families who are grieving and have lost their loved one. We consider the opportunity to serve your family a privilege no matter what your belief or custom.
A Pastor conducts the funeral and a musician leads the songs. The casket is usually open and guests may choose to view or not view the body. Guests rise and sit as songs are sung with the congregation, but they may choose not to sing. Attending at the graveside burial is optional.
Baptists are believers of afterlife, they follow the Bible, and strive for a place in Heaven. During the funeral, guests may participate. Baptists may choose to have an open or closed casket, or they may also choose cremation. If they choose cremation the urn is usually displayed during the funeral. Songs can be sung by a soloist or the congregation, and a pianist or musician is allowed. Practices will typically vary by region.
Buddhist funeral customs vary from one country to another. Overall, Buddhist funeral are serene and peaceful. The deceased’s photo, candles, and flowers are displayed at the altar. Family transfers merit to their loved one through various rituals. Families traditionally wear white in addition to a headband or an armband. Guests may chant prayers, offer fruit, ring bells, and burn incense. Cremation is traditional but burial is allowed as well. Families may assist in lowering the casket if this is the case.
There are an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics. They believe a person will be judged to Heaven, Hell, or to Purgatory. Catholics believe Jesus died to redeem oneself from sin. Before death, there is no assurance that they will go to Heaven, so family and guests pray for their loved one’s acceptance into heaven. The priest is one of the first persons contacted after death or as death approaches.
Embalming is standard so that a viewing or vigil is possible. During the viewing a kneeler sits next to the casket. Guests use the kneeler to pray. Immediate family typically stays the entire time of the viewing and guests offer words of hope and sympathy.
Catholic funeral services are called a “Funeral Mass.” The Funeral Mass is conducted in a Catholic Church, not a funeral home. The Priest follows a formal pattern of prayers are followed, along with a sermon and various scripture readings. Holy Communion comes near the end of the funeral mass. To begin the Priest greets the casket at the entrance of the church, sprinkles holy water on it. At the end the Priest circles the casket while incensing it.
Most of our local Catholic Churches allow personal remembrances, special music, and some other parts that might be considered non-traditional.
While a casketed burial has been the traditional custom of the Catholic Church, cremation is now allowed and the ashes are required to be present for the Funeral Mass.
A formal burial service immediately follows the service, and is conducted by the Priest. If cremation was chosen, ashes are required to be interred at a Catholic Cemetery, not scattered or kept at home.
Church of Christ funerals normally begin several days following the death. Guests arrive and seat themselves. Condolences may be offered to the family of the deceased but there is usually no receiving line. The congregation sings hymns without the use of any musical instruments, pianos, or organs. The minister directs the funeral service as he reads from the Bible. Church of Christ funerals allow a casket or an urn to be present for the service.
Churches of Christ are uniques in that each is autonomous. There is no central organization or central offices. Members believe paradise can be entered following death, while Judgement Day may send the unfaithful to Hell. Scriptures are the center of their beliefs.
Episcopal funeral services take place in the Episcopal Church. Guests may seat themselves and may or may not view the deceased. A priest will direct the funeral and include Bible lessons during the sermon. Christians may participate in Communion if they choose. The Episcopal funeral allows for a casket or an urn to be present during the service.
The Church originated when settlers from England settle in Virgina and decided to separate themselves from the beliefs of the British. They use a democratic structure and believe the Bible to be an inspired account up for interpretation by its members.
The Greek Orthodox believes the soul separates at death from it’s body. During Christ’s coming, final judgement determines a result of heaven or hell for each soul. Basic principles of Orthodoxy teach that Jesus and apostles all represent the truth.
Guests at the Greek Orthodox funeral service may use the phrase “Memory Eternal” towards the family or offer other condolences if they prefer. An open casket is traditional, while viewing is optional. Icons and crosses decorate the alter and casket. Believers kiss the icon while non-believers are not expected to. Non-believers, however, usually participate in the funeral service with the congregation. At the gravesite burial, flowers can be placed on top of the casket by families and guests.
Cremation is the disposition of choice in Hinduism. The funeral service is typically held at the home and a ceremony may also be held at the crematorium where the cremation takes place. Guests and mourners dress casually and white clothing is preferred. Bringing food is not allowed but flowers are. The body should be viewed by all guests. The ceremony is directed by family elders and the priest. Photography and video of the service is not polite. The official mourning begins 10 days after the cremation and may range to 30 days. Fruit may be offered from visitors.
Most Hindus are Asian Indians. There is no founder or doctrine. They believe every person and object has God within them. They believe each soul is divine. The gods and goddesses of Hinduism can help their believers realize their own divine presence.
Known for the expectation of the world ending soon, the Jehovah’s Witness demands obedient teachings of the Bible. Members have a strong devotion of sharing their beliefs. They are not involved with politics or voting. Their faith believes the soul unconsciously waits for resurrection. Christ returns to rule and God’s kingdom will be fulfilled.
The funeral service is usually shorter than other faiths, sometimes only lasting 3o minutes, and will take place within a week of the death. Men wear suits and women dress modestly, and neither wear head head coverings. Flowers and food are welcomed by the family. Most funerals take place in their Kingdom Hall. An open casket is acceptable but not required. Photography and video is not allowed but audio recordings are permitted. At the burial scriptures and prayers are read.
Jewish funeral rituals follow strict customs set forth by the Torah. They emphasize Judaism and they believe embracing life as praiseworthy can prepare someone for the after life.
If possible, Jewish burial should occur within 24 hours of death, or soon as possible. Simplicity of Jewish funerals is customary so as not to call out he poor. “Tahara” is the washing of the deceased ritual and then using a plain shroud for clothing. “Chevra Kadisha” ar ethe watchers who will stay with the body until the funeral. Funeral services are at the Synagogue or funeral home without a visitation. Simple wood caskets are used in order to obtain natural decomposition. The Jewish rituals do not allow open caskets or cremation. Men wear a jacket, tie, and yarmulkes. Women wear modest clothing with somber colors and no head covering.
The Rabbi conducts the funeral. Photography and video of the service is prohibited. The Rabbi will read more prayers at the cemetery. Family participates in covering the lowered casket with dirt. It is acceptable for the entire funeral to be held at the grave site. A donation to charity is preferred instead of flowers. Food is also accepted.
“Shiva” is the initial mourning time and lasts 7 days. During Shiva guests may visit the home. During Shiva, men refrain from shaving, women refrain from using makeup, and there is no intimacy. The family prays twice each day and will go back to work after a week. “Yahrzeit” is a yearly anniversary when the family will light candles in memory.
Unitarian Universalist funeral normally last 30-60 minutes and they are called memorial services instead of funerals services, regardless if the body is present for the service or not. Food, condolences, and phone calls are all appreciated from the family. Services are held at the church or funeral home. A meditation and sermon is offered by the minister during the service. A eulogy is delivered and a pianist will play musical selections. Service bulletins are printed with the order and given to those attending. Burial, cremation, and embalming are all accepted by the Unitarian Universalist, while an open casket is rare. Please refrain from using photography and video during the service. A reception is hosted by family members afterwards where food is served. There is no set period of time for mourning.