Funeral Guidelines for St. Peter's Church


The Church is extremely beautiful in all its appointments, and there is little else that needs to be done to add to the sacredness of the setting. The Church of St. Peter will accommodate approximately 150 persons.


While it is written, "What man shall live and not see death?" (Psalm 89:48), the reality is that death catches most of us unprepared. Few of us know how to plan a Funeral Service. Following is a brief outline of what to think about in making preparations.


It is of the utmost importance to contact your Priest as soon as possible who can be very helpful in dealing with the death of a loved one and in making decisions and preparing for the Service. Call her at 540-898-1586, or cell  540-809-7489; if you can’t reach her leave a message and also contact the Senior Warden. 

If you would prefer an Officiant in addition to the Priest-in-Charge of St. Peter's, you should, if possible, make this request well in advance. Courtesy requires that the Priest-in-Charge be requested to contact the additional Officiant to invite him or her to assist in the ceremony. If the requested minister is of another denomination, it is necessary to have prior approval from the Priest-in-Charge of St. Peter’s and, perhaps, the Bishop.

COMMITMENT must NOT be made by or to the Funeral Home as to date and time of ceremony at St. Peter’s without the express concurrence of the Priest-in-Charge of St. Peter’s.

If the funeral by another minister is held in another location, and, if interment is desired at the cemetery at St. Peter, courtesy requires that the Priest-in-Charge of St. Peter’s be contacted for approval and coordination with the Cemetery Committee prior to any public announcements or other arrangements.


The following considerations are necessary:

-selection of a casket or urn, and arrangements for interment or cremation,

  -the Funeral Director will help prepare an obituary and place it in requested newspapers.

  -the Director will take care of reserve parking and arrangements with appropriate police agencies.

  -Funeral Homes also offer a variety of other services and their personnel will offer helpful suggestions.

 It is not recommended that the Burial Service be in the Funeral Home but in the Church.

The order of the church service and its content will be between you, your family, and the Priest-in-Charge of the Parish.

Should you wish a visitation at the Funeral Home, the Priest-in-Charge would be happy to have a Christian Wake Service (copies are available) to put things in perspective as to the meaning of death and entrance into larger life for those departing in the belief and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Every Burial Service is an Easter or Resurrection Service.

Your Priest will meet with you to assist in planning the service. Before meeting, please give thought to:

-Time and date of service to accommodate the calendar of the Church, out of town visitors, the availability of the Priest, schedule of the Funeral Home, work hours, and special requirements such as cremation.

-Selection of Liturgy: Rite 1 (BCP pp. 469-490, which include suggested readings at pp. 470,475, &480; Psalms pp. 471-475, 476-479); Rite 2 (BCP 493, which include suggested readings and psalms at pp. 496-495), or, if fervently desired, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

-It is most appropriate for members of the family to do readings except for that from the Gospel.

-Whether or not there is to be a eulogy and by whom?

-Whether or not there is to be a Communion. The Priest-in-Charge will not give selective communion.

-Selection of hymns from the Hymnal (1940 or 1980).

-Whether or not there is to be a bulletin.

-There are no flowers on the casket in the Church; the Pall is used to denote that all are equal before God. If a veteran with honorable service, a flag may be used in lieu of the Pall.

-The family may order flowers and place them in the sanctuary under the auspices of the Altar Guild but flowers may not be taller than the Altar Cross.

-In lieu of flowers, the family may elect to designate charities or the Church as beneficiaries of donations.

-Whether to have Pall Bearers and, if so, selection and provision of names after their consent to serve.

-If the casket or urn is to be in the Church, the Funeral Director will direct Pall Bearers. If there is no Director, the clergy will direct Pall Bearers.

-In the Episcopal Church there are no open caskets in the Burial Service.

- The church provides ushers experienced in funeral services. Inform the Priest-in-Charge if you wish special people.


The Priest-in-Charge does not charge for his services. You may wish, however, to give an honorarium to the clergy through the Funeral Home or directly by making a check out to the The Priest-in-Charge's Discretionary Fund or to St. Peter’s with a notation “The Priest-in-Charge's Discretionary Fund”. Such funds are used to cover personal expenses (preparation of funeral bulletins, hymn inserts, associated travel, etc.), to benefit the poor, and parish needs.

Our organist charges $125 and should have first refusal for a burial service in St. Peter’s.


The Parish House at St. Peter’s is available for a reception following the Burial Service. If requested, the

Episcopal Church Women can provide a simple fare normally including coffee, tea, punch, and light refreshments. A donation from the family would be gratefully accepted.


Immediate family members should gather at the Parish House about half an hour before the service; the family may invite close friends. The Priest-in-Charge and other participating clergy will meet with the family for prayer and escort them to Church.

There will be reserved pews for family in the Church.

The Priest-in-Charge will meet the funeral coach and receive the body into the Church.

The family may wish to be seated before the body is borne into the Church or to be part of the procession. The Crucifer, if any, and the Priest lead the body and Pall Bearers into the Church. Church traffic pattern is to the right.

After the service, the Crucifer and the Priest lead the body out of the Church. The family, close friends, others follow the casket and Pall Bearers in departing the Church.


There will be a short interment at the cemetery or columbarium. If there is a bulletin, the service will be outlined therein. (There could be only a grave-side service (no service at the Church) combined with the interment.)

I will use and place sand or earth on the casket or urn at the grave site. It is my custom to bless the grave prior to or after the Interment Service.


Inform the clergy if a funeral home is not to be involved in burial arrangements as you will need to discuss arrangements normally handled by the funeral home (Pall Bearers, parking, obituary, police escort, guest register, etc.)


To record the funeral in the parish register, it is important that you inform the Priest as to the full name of the deceased, dates of birth and death, cause of death, last residence and place of interment.

I AM the Resurrection and the Life”, says the Lord, “whoever believes in

Me shall have everlasting life.”




It is not recommended that Burial Services be held at a Funeral Home. Your Priest can provide a short “Christian Wake” Service (a copy is available) near the close of a visitation at Home or at Funeral Home where the casket may be open until the start of the Wake.

At an Episcopal Burial Service or Wake, the casket is closed before the Service begins.

Please consider and address the following items for an Episcopal Burial Service at St. Peter’s (or at Home or at a Funeral Home). (Note: there may be only a Grave-side Service and no other Service.)

Location of Service ___________________

Funeral Home Director desired? Yes ____ (Name/Location/Telephone #
_________________________________________________  ) No ___

If known, date and time desired for Burial Service ________________________

Visitation desired? Yes___ No___ If yes, Home? ___ Funeral Home? ____

If known, date and time of visitation __________________

Would you like a Christian Wake Service at Visitation? Yes___ No___

Do you wish former Clergy or other Clergy to jointly officiate? Yes__ No__
If yes, Priest-in-Charge will invite: name, address, and telephone # to be invited:

Rite I (BCP 468 ff) or Rite II (BCP 490 ff) ________________

Communion? Yes___ No___ [No Communion at Funeral Home and no selective Communion during Church Burial Service (e.g.; Communion only for family).]

Readings: (It is appropriate for family members to read lessons (except for Gospel), to read or lead the psalms responsively, and to read the prayers)

Old Testament ___________  (Suggestions, BCP 470, 494)

Psalm (Appropriate: Ps. 42:1-7, 46, 90:1-12, 121, 130, 139:139:1-11) ________

Reader ________   Or Hymn # _________  (1940 ___ 1980___)

New Testament __________  (Suggestions, BCP 475, 495) Reader ___________

Psalm (Appropriate Ps.23 (KJV?), 27, 106:1-5, 116) ____________

Reader ________  Or Hymn # ________  (1940 ___ 1980 ___)

Gospel __________  (BCP 480, 495) (Read by Officiant)

Is an organist desired? Yes ___ No ___. If yes, ask Church Organist, if available.
If not available, who? _______________  . Tel. # ______________  .

Choir is desired? Yes ___ No ____. Soloist? Yes ___ No ___. Selection desired:
_____________________________  .

Hymns desired (Please indicate whether 1940 or 1980 Hymnal; depending on
copyright, it may be possible to reproduce other selections):

Is an Acolyte desired by name, if so, who? ___________________________

Consider Pall Bearers: normally six but there can be additional honorary

ones. __________________________________________________________________


Please give your desires to the Priest-in-Charge as soon as possible.