Resources for planning memorial services and funerals

Memorial services are not so much rites for the dead as celebrations by the living and for the living of the lives of those who have died.  Such ceremonies are an important way of saying goodbye, yet most people are not sure exactly what to do when the task of arranging one falls to them.  These books may be of help.

All books may be found in the Death & Grief section of the church library.

Planning memorial celebrations : a sourcebook, by Rob Baker.  A practical and supportive guide, explaining how to cope with all the details when efficiency is furthest from your mind.   Includes good bibliography and discography.

The love which heals : a service of grieving & gratitude for those who have been recently bereft, by John Bell.  Bell brings us a gift of a service from the richness of the Celtic tradition and the Iona Community of which he is a part.

In loving memory : a collection for memorial services, funerals and just getting by, edited by Sally Emerson.  A wide ranging anthology of poetry and writing offering a wealth of suggestions for funerals and memorial services, as well as poems to offer comfort, support and peace of mind.  Here too are poems of inspiration that celebrate the power of love and others that simply say goodbye. Includes hymns, prayers and readings.

When death occurs : a practical consumer’s guide, by John Reigle. A practical guide presenting options for funerals, memorials, burials, cremation and body donation, including ways to make them more meaningful, memorable and valuable.  Written for those in the midst of grief or preplanning for a loved one or for yourself.

In memoriam : a practical guide to planning a memorial service, by Amanda Bennett and Terence Foley.  Practical and informative, this book urges us to commemorate our loved ones by providing ways to make life’s final passage an experience filled with dignity, compassion, and imagination.  Written in an accessible, easy-to-read format, it provides a full range of options to help you choose music, arrange flowers, select a format, prepare a eulogy, and invite speakers, and offers a wide range of selected appropriate readings.

Creating meaningful funeral ceremonies : a guide for caregivers, by Alan Wolfelt.  Whether you need to plan a funeral or memorial service, this book will help you and your family create a loving, personalized tribute to the person who has died.  It includes practical information including recommended readings on ritual and ceremonies, organizations for mourners, a funeral planning summary worksheet, and other books on grief, healing etc.

See also: Our Ministers, our Music Ministry staff, and the Public Library.