Funerals & Memorial Services
In times of sorrow, our facilities and staff offer comfort. Here are some suggestions that can help when you’re faced with the details and decisions of planning a funeral or memorial service.
Notifying the Church
When death occurs, the pastors should be informed as soon as possible, in order that they might provide appropriate consolation and support to the family and friends. Contact the church office (216-321-2660) during normal business hours (8:30am – 5 pm). If the loss occurs outside these times, please contact the pastor, John Lentz, directly (216-371-8470).
Types of Services
The service for a Christian is normally held in the church, under the direction of the pastor, at a time when the congregation can be present. This joins the service of death with the faith community’s continuing life and worship.
The pastor will meet with the family to discuss the type of service desired, scripture passages, music selections and the participation of others who might wish to eulogize the deceased. Typically, services are held in the Sanctuary or a funeral home, but other arrangements can be made. Ceremonies and rites of fraternal, civic, or military organizations should occur at some other time or place.
- Funeral Services These services of worship are intended for use with the body or ashes of the deceased present. In order that attention in the service be directed to God, the coffin should be closed before the service begins. The coffin may be covered with a white funeral pall or with flowers, as the family directs.
- Memorial Services These services of worship are similar to the funeral services except that the body or ashes of the deceased are not present. The committal of the body may follow or precede the service, as preferred.
- Interment This is the service of committal, usually held at the burial site. It generally accompanies either a funeral or memorial service, but may also stand alone, as the family prefers. Sentences of scripture are read, and the body is committed to its final resting place.
It usually takes at least two days to finalize arrangements for a memorial service or burial. The bulletin can be prepared and provided by the church.
Our Music Director, Anne Wilson, can help you plan the music for the service (216-371-9508). Musical participation by family or friends is welcome. Vocal or instrumental solos may also be desired. Some favorite hymns of faith include:
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Be Still, My Soul
Blest Be the Tie
Faith Is The Victory
For All the Saints Who From Their Labors Rest
It Is Well With My Soul
The Lord’s My Shepherd
O God, Our Help In Ages Past
O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
Rock of Ages, Cleft For Me
Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
Sweet By and By
Order of Worship
While the order of worship for a funeral or memorial service contains some areas of flexibility, it generally includes these elements:
Organ or other Musical Prelude
Call to Worship
Hymn of Praise
Invocation and Lord’s Prayer
Meditation, personal reflections, and/or brief sermon
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Creed or Other Affirmation of Faith
Hymn of Victory
Organ or other Musical Postlude
Some favorite Scripture passages for funerals/memorial services include:
Isaiah 40: 1-11; 28-31
Psalms 46:1-5, 10-11
John 14:1-6, 25-27
Romans 8:14-23, 31-39
1 Corinthians 15:20-26
2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:1
Ephesians 1: 11 – 2:1, 4-10
Consider what type of information you want included in the service bulletin. Suggestions include: full name (include maiden name, military service – branch, title, rank, time of service) nickname; date and place of birth; hometown; date, person and place of marriage; education (degrees); children, grand¬children, other immediate family; career, special achievements, qualities, traits, memories; areas of service within the church, community, nation, world; favorite Bible verse, hymn, poem, or saying. A photograph of your loved one is also appropriate.
Other Things to Consider
- Arrangements If you do not have arrangements for a funeral home, florist or burial plot, the pastoral staff can advise you. If you order flowers, they should be delivered to the place of the memorial service or funeral on the day of the service. Let the funeral director know what you want done with the flowers following the service.
- Documents Information about the type and number of official documents you may need is generally available through the funeral home; banks often can advise you in the number and types of forms they will need. Your attorney, accountant or social worker can also be of assistance.
- Newspaper Announcement Funeral homes will usually assist you in preparing the obituary. Requests for memorial gifts in lieu of flowers should be included in the newspaper notice. Donations to a charity or to the Forest Hill Church Endowment Fund are ways of having an ongoing memorial to the deceased; this may be mentioned in the announcement.
- Housesitting If you need this during the service, let the church office know and the CARE group or reception coordinator will assist you.
A fee for the pastor is not required. If you wish to make a monetary gift to the pastor(s), the minimum honorarium for each is $200. In lieu of a cash gift you may make a donation to the church.
The fee for the organist is $150 (add $25 per extra rehearsal with soloists). If the church provides a vocalist or instrumentalist, the additional fee is $75.
Reception following the service: Receptions for individuals are not provided by Forest Hill Church; however, we do have a team of funeral reception coordinators and the church facilities are available. The Office Administrator can schedule the church use and put you in contact with one of the coordinators.
Many grocery stores have the ability to provide food trays, including fruit, cheese and crackers, sandwiches, and sweets with 24 hours notice. The following local stores are able to provide this service:
Zagara’s, 1940 Lee Rd, Cl. Hts. 216-321-7917
Dave’s, Severance Center 216-291-2300
Alesci’s 4333 Mayfield 216-382-5100
Shaker Hts. 216-371-3700
South Euclid 216-382-6500
Cleveland Hts. 216-421-9063
University Hts. 216-382-4144
Shaker Hts. 216-921-6638
The pastors are available to talk with you and to help you through this difficult time. The Hospice of the Western Reserve (216-383-2222) regularly sponsors Grief Support Groups.
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28