Why have a service?
When a life comes to an end there is human need to observe that fact. The observance might be simple or it might be elaborate. It might be formal or it might be informal. It might be private or public. Whatever form it takes, the need is there. Jesus said, "The very hairs on our heads are counted by God." We cannot end our lives and simply disappear as if our living did not matter. We are God's children. Those who survive us will grieve for us and want to show respect to us. A "service" of thanks and praise (formal or informal) does just that. It sets the life of the deceased in the context of Christian faith.
It helps all to see and remember that this person was a child of God. It helps the living express their thanks, their joy, and their grief. As such it helps the living carry on with their living reminding them of the purpose and destiny of our lives here. St. Paul's is well prepared to serve people at the time of a death. We can help shape the "service" that is just right for those gathering.
Can anyone call the church to ask for a service?
Yes. Everyone is welcome to call. You need not be a member or adherent of St. Paul's. Ministry at the time of bereavement is a service of compassion and care we offer to the community. We offer help with funeral and memorial services (what some now call "celebration of life") in the context of Christian faith.
What different types of services are offered?
This is a service at which are present either the body or the cremated remains of the deceased.
This is a service of praise and worship when neither the body nor the cremated remains are present. Very often pictures of the deceased are prominently placed.
Some choose to gather family and friends at the grave when the body or the cremated remains are to be interred.
Celebrations of Life:
In fact all the services are celebrations of life. All services praise and give thanks to God for the life lived. Some people prefer this designation to the other terms.
Where can these services be held?
Those charged with planning a service have many options open to them.
The Sanctuary at St. Paul's is available for any funeral or memorial service, any celebration of life. While the sanctuary can accommodate up to 400+ people, the beauty and reverence of the architecture, the wonderful stained glass and carvings of the church all make the space suitable for smaller, more intimate gatherings as well. One advantage of the sanctuary is that the celebration of life is in a place of regular, ongoing worship and praise. In the sanctuary one is surrounded by images and symbols of the Christian faith. This is an added comfort. Another advantage is that music can be provided on either our Casavant organ or grand piano or both. Our Music Director, presides at all services for a modest fee. Many appreciate that a service can be held in the sanctuary and then a reception can follow in the parlour right afterward. This means people do not have to move from place to place.
St. Paul's Parlour/ Other Rooms
Occasionally families have chosen to have a more informal remembrance in one of the other rooms of the church. Some smaller gatherings have met in the parlour and then continued there with their time of fellowship. There is a well-maintained piano in the parlour if that is needed.
This service of course takes place right in the cemetery.
Many people choose to have the service in the funeral home. There are two funeral homes in Dundas:"Marlatt Funeral Home & Cremation Centre" and Turner Family Funeral Home."
Ministers from St. Paul's will do services in these or any other funeral home that is chosen. Other Ministers from St. Paul's will conduct services in almost any setting you choose: private home, outdoors, arenas, schools, and so on. Arrangements, of course, have to be made with those in charge of those locations.
Who do I call?
To arrange for a funeral/memorial service, call the church office 905-628-6396. Or you can e-mail the church office. All services are arranged through the minister(s). He/she or his/her designate will preside. Our Minister Emeritus and others have taken services from time to time. The minister will visit with those arranging the funeral. This visit is usually done in person most often at that person's home, but can be arranged in a Minister's Study at St. Paul's. Occasionally this visit is done by phone. It is in this visit that all details of the service will be decided. This is where the service is shaped to give thanks for the life of the deceased in the context of the Christian faith.
Can the service be "personalized"?
Yes. While the funeral or memorial service is a service of worship, and while the focus is on God, we do not lose sight of the specific life that was gifted and graced. Eulogies and other tributes (musical and spoken), selection of readings and a life lived in the presence of God. The service is one of remembering as well as one of praise and thanksgiving. A funeral bulletin may be produced for use in the service (especially for those in the church or at the funeral home.) This is another part of our ministry.
It is possible to arrange for a catered lunch at the church. St. Paul's Reception Committee does most of these. They offer either a full sandwich/veggie/squares lunch or sweets/fruit tea. Details need to be arranged with that committee. Contact the Office for contact information. It is also possible to rent the parlour and see to the catering yourself.
Check with the Church Office for Current Fees.