Arranging a Baptist funeral

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If you or a family member wants a Baptist funeral, make this a funeral wish which you have agreed with your loved ones and executor.

The Baptist Church teaches that physical death involves no loss of consciousness, the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ and that there is a separation between soul and body. Such separation will continue until the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord.

Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Baptists teach the bodily resurrection of all people, the saved to eternity, and the unsaved to everlasting punishment.

The Baptist Church allows a burial or cremation, each funeral or memorial service aims to be personal, uplifting, meaningful and comforting. The person who officiates will be the Pastor; they should be contacted prior to any arrangements being made and may visit and pray with the family at their home.

Approved/typical venues

The funeral will take place at the Baptist church or the selected crematorium or cemetery. The local Pastor will be able to offer helpful advice on arranging the service and you do not need to be a regular worshiper at the church, but must show an understanding of Baptist beliefs. Baptists are inclusive and the Pastor is likely to agree to officiate at the funeral.

To contact your nearest church, visit the Baptist website.

Length of funeral

There are three types of services:

·         A small private service (memorial service), this is typically no longer than an hour. This will be decided in discussion with the Pastor during which the content of the memorial service will be decided. With an uplifting focus, the service is a celebration of the deceased life on earth and a way to provide comfort for the family.

·         A regular service at the funeral home, crematorium, chapel or church. This will be the length of time agreed with the funeral director who will book the time that is convenient with the family and the church or crematorium at which the service will be held. They are normally 15 or 20 minutes long.

·         A committal service at the grave. This depends on individual circumstances and family wishes to be discussed with the funeral director and the Pastor. In normal circumstances it will be a short service.

Things to discuss with your Pastor

  • Who will be the pallbearers?
  • Who will do the readings?
  • Are there special prayers, songs, hymns or other music you would like included?
  • How much are the church fees?
  • Are there other fees, for example for the organist?
  • Should you bring your children if they are young?
  • What about a headstone to mark the grave?
  • Are there rules about what memorials you can choose?

Typical Order of Service

The Pastor will begin with a welcome and offer some words about the deceased. Scripture readings will follow and family or friends may also talk about the deceased.

The service will also include music - either from the choir or family and friends and an invitational period during the service is also appropriate.

Secular music, readings and other features

The family will make the arrangements and offer suggestions for the service, but the Pastor has the final decision. The Pastor will usually welcome suggestions from the family regarding eulogies, readers, singers, and special prayers - allowing the service to be as personal as possible.

Baptist funerals are good examples of the modern British funeral that allows religious and secular elements to create a personalised farewell by accepting the family’s wishes for appropriate secular music and readings.

Should we have a gathering afterwards?

This is optional and can be discussed with your Pastor but is a nice way for family and friends to get together and share stories.

Celebration services

These are also optional and can be discussed with your Pastor.

Planning ahead

If you want a Baptist funeral, make this a funeral wish which you have agreed with your loved ones and executor.

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