Funeral and Memorial Services

The promise of the Christian faith is that nothing—not even death—can separate us from the love of God. When death comes, First Presbyterian Church wants to be a comfort and presence. Please call the church immediately when a loved one has died 410-267-8705.

What Presbyterians Believe

Presbyterians believe that an earthen burial, cremation, or the donation of the body for medical purposes are all appropriate ways to handle the physical remains of loved ones. Presbyterian doctrine supports an autopsy if it leads to the advancement of medical knowledge or peace of mind for the family.

Planning the Service

Pastors will help you plan a memorial service or funeral for your loved one. There are several forms of services:

  • Funeral - A funeral service is usually conducted within days of death. It is generally held at the church although it can be held at a funeral home. The closed casket or urn may be present.

  • Memorial - A memorial service is conducted at the church and can take place days or weeks after death. A longer timeline can allow more opportunity for friends and family to receive notice and make arrangements to attend.

  • Committal - The committal is a short service at the graveside or columbarium. It consists of brief scripture readings and prayers. The committal may accompany a funeral or memorial service and be held either before or after the service. Traditionally, the committal is a small gathering for close relatives of the deceased person.

At First Presbyterian Church, funeral and memorial services may take place either in the main sanctuary or the Winslow Shaw Chapel. Committal Services can be held outdoors at the church columbarium. For inside services, the church provides both an organist and printed worship bulletins. The family may provide a list of pallbearers to the pastor (include names and contact information).

Loved ones may choose to have a reception following the service that gives family and friends time to visit. Upon request, the Presbyterian Women, a service and fellowship group of the congregation is available to host receptions in McBee Fellowship Hall.

There are no fees for members' use of the church for funerals and memorial services. However, a $200 honorarium is charged for the organist and it is appropriate to provide a gift to the Presbyterian Women if a reception is included.