Leading a commital service

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Seeler

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Help! I will be asked to do a committal service.
I was recently approached by a third party to do a committal service for an elderly woman who died this past winter. Before I got back to my contact person, the woman's partner had a stroke. She's in her 80s and has hours or days left. So it will be a double ceremony.
I've never met either of these women. Apparently they lived very quiet, private lives having found each other at a time when it wasn't safe to be 'out'. I was told there would be very few at the cemetery, but that they would like some prayers and a few words.
Any advice for this lay person?
 

crazyheart

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I did a double memorial service and committal of ashes a few years ago. Just out of curiosity how was the third person involved. Was this person the executor. How did the third person get the authority to ask you?

The couple that I did the service for was an elderly, long married mother, father, grandmother ,grandfather, aunt , uncle and committed church folk. So the committal of ashes was very short and for the family only.
 

Seeler

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I am not sure of any official connection. Apparently my church friend and her husband were long time friends of these two women. The surviving one asked her help and advice about her partner's committal. Although they were not church-goers - possibly they were afraid of being unwelcome in a church as a couple - she wanted a Christian burial. But before arrangements were finalized she too became incapacitated. My friend has been in touch with a daughter, and I believe that she will also want my friend's help and advice.
If not, I am off the hook. But I want to be prepared if I am asked.
I don't think this is the type of thing I could refuse.
My church will be closed and the minister on vacation in July.
The church we are sharing summer services with has a reputation of not being a welcoming place for LGBT people.
 

revjohn

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Committals vary depending on the circumstance.

Just come from the funeral. Well then, most everything has already been said and dome. Some prayers the ashes to ashes dust to dust routine more prayer and benediction and voila.

Funeral some time ago (often the case with cremation). Funeral service reprise and then as per having just had the funeral.

No funeral before hand. Committal can be brief if that is what is wanted or requested or it can be longer depending on things like weather. Did one last week and abbreviated it because I didn't want folk dropping in the heat and the humidity. It didn't seem pastoral to make their emotional suffering compete with physical suffering.

Do not have to be ornate.
 

Seeler

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Thank you Rev.John. In this case I don't believe there was a funeral.
 

revjohn

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If it would help I can send you a copy of my last grave side service and a committal. If nothing else it will give you an outline to play with.

It will have to wait until tomorrow as all that stuff is in the office.
 

Pinga

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I have used the word committal for the service at the graveside (burial) or placing the urn in its resting place....ie after cremation
 

revsdd

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For a graveside committal when there hasn't been a funeral service I usually do a service that's about 10-15 minutes in length, depending on some variables (mostly, how much involvement family and/or friends want to have). It includes Scripture, prayer, and a brief message from me. If anyone in the family wants to say something that's encouraged, of course. But it's not a fancy or complicated service. A standard outline that I would use:

Words of Greeting
Scripture (often Psalm 23 or John 14:1-6)
Opening Prayer
Words from Family (if any)
Moment of Silence
Scripture (often Romans 8:38-39 or John 11:25-26)
Brief Message
Scripture (often Lamentations 3:21-23 or 1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
The Act of Committal
Prayer & The Lord's Prayer
Benediction
 

ChemGal

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Thanks Pinga. Luckily I haven't had much experience with this stuff, and I tend to lump it all as 'funeral'.
 

Pinga

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We did my mothers placement in the columbarium niche with our minister present. It did not seem right to just have it opened and place here without any words shared.

Lol, Mom's urn also was one of the first "people" to take a ride in the new church elevator. She died before it was completed, but, her and Dad had advocated for it. Helps to have a minister who gets the needs of the remaining spouse.
 

Beloved

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Thinking of you as you prepare, seeler.

I've only done one graveside service. It was the funeral and committal in one. It was short, maybe 15 minutes. I met with the family a few days before. The information they shared was most helpful.
 

Seeler

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If it would help I can send you a copy of my last grave side service and a committal. If nothing else it will give you an outline to play with.

It will have to wait until tomorrow as all that stuff is in the office.
I would appreciate that John.
 

Seeler

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For a graveside committal when there hasn't been a funeral service I usually do a service that's about 10-15 minutes in length, depending on some variables (mostly, how much involvement family and/or friends want to have). It includes Scripture, prayer, and a brief message from me. If anyone in the family wants to say something that's encouraged, of course. But it's not a fancy or complicated service. A standard outline that I would use:

Words of Greeting
Scripture (often Psalm 23 or John 14:1-6)
Opening Prayer
Words from Family (if any)
Moment of Silence
Scripture (often Romans 8:38-39 or John 11:25-26)
Brief Message
Scripture (often Lamentations 3:21-23 or 1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
The Act of Committal
Prayer & The Lord's Prayer
Benediction

This outline is helpful, but what is the "Act of Committal"?
 

Seeler

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You mean when they lower the casket (or urn) into the grave and say "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen." ?

Who is responsible for lowering the urn?
 

Pinga

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placing the urn? in our case it was the guy from the cemetery who took off the cover, we placed the urn, he put the cover back on.
 

crazyheart

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Yes, the funeral people look after that. They may even place the urn. They may make the sign of the cross in the sand. They sometimes have a little pail of sand and shovel so everyone can put in some dirt.
Some folk place flowers in the hole on top of urn.Lots of different ways. The funeral people are very helpful, I have found.
 
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