Funeral Planning

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In the Spirit of Jesus Christ, we are here to support you in your time of grief. We hope the following information will help you in your preparations for the funeral service.

First Steps

Securing a Pastor: Generally the funeral home will notify our pastor when there has been a request for a funeral service. Normally the pastor of our congregation will preside at a funeral service. With the approval of our pastor, you may choose to engage other pastors to preside or take a part in the service.

Meeting with the pastor: The pastor will meet with the family for prayer and pastoral support and to discuss the overall plan for the service.

Planning the Service

The following parts of the service should be discussed with the pastor:

  1. Readings and Hymns: Are there particular hymns or particular scripture texts or stories that were meaningful to the deceased or to the family? Or would you prefer that the pastor select readings and hymns?
  2. Eulogy: The eulogy (Greek meaning “good words”) is an important part of saying good-bye. It is a story of the life of the deceased composed by the family, and when possible, presented by one of the family or friends (though the family may ask for the pastor to read the eulogy).
  3. Pictures and Multimedia: You may choose to place pictures of the deceased or memorabilia at the front of the church. If the family has a multi-media presentation (ie: slideshow) or special music they wish played, the music and content must be approved by the pastor and should conform to Christian values and standards that give glory to God.
  4. Holy Communion: Would the celebration of the presence of Christ in holy communion be desirable for this gathering of family and friends?
  5. Music for the Service: An organist/pianist is normally needed for the service. The funeral home will secure an organist from the church (unless you have family or friends you might wish to ask). You may also decide to add musical selections from vocalists or instrumentalists.
  6. Interment: Interment, as described in the order of service, generally follows the service. (Other options for interment times may be discussed with the pastor.) The scattering of ashes may also be discussed with the pastor and must be done in accordance with provincial guidelines.

Planning the Funeral Luncheon

  1. At your request, our ladies aid group (the Wilhelmina Willing Workers) will coordinate lunch at the church following the service. A lunch generally consists of sandwiches and squares along with coffee, tea and juice.
  2. The Willing Workers need to know approximately how many people you estimate will attend the luncheon so the volunteers who prepare lunch know how much to bring.

Handling financial matters

Required Costs:

Members and Non-members alike are charged for a cemetery plot. A grave marker deposit is also required, but will be returned once a grave marker is put in place by the family.

  • Full Cemetery Plot: $500 + $25GST = $525.00
  • Cremation Plot: $250 + $12.50GST = $262.50
  • Grave Marker Deposit: $475.00 (will be refunded to the original issuer of the cheque).

Suggested Honoraria:

The following items are discretionary and are listed as suggested honoraria only. We find that people in their time of grief are faced with many exhausting decisions to make and these amounts are suggested to simplify decisions about, “what is the usual donation for the pastor, or for the organist or for the luncheon.” We offer these as suggested guidelines only.

  • Presiding Pastor: $150-300 (this is often handled through the funeral home.)
  • Organist: approximately $100
  • Luncheon: The funeral home will recommend that approximately $3.00/person be given in donation to the Wilhelmina Willing Workers for the lunch. This is only a recommendation and the ladies group has never asked for any amount. Serving lunch at funerals is an important part of our ministry and should not be a financial burden to the grieving family.

Generally the funeral home will take care of writing separate cheques for the pastor, organist, and funeral luncheon when required. Please check with them before making an additional contribution.

Should the family wish to make additional memorial donations directly to the church please make cheques payable to Wilhelmina Lutheran Church and leave with the pastor or mail to PO Box 148 Hay Lakes, AB T0B 1W0. A tax receipt will be issued to the donor for the amount of any memorial donations made.

At Wilhelmina we wish to serve you during this difficult time of arrangements, transition and grieving. If you have any questions or concerns with anything in connection to the preceding information about the service, interment and/or luncheon, (or about anything not covered here) please discuss this with the pastor. Above all, we want this to be a healing time for you. Our prayers and love are with you.

Peace in Christ,

The Congregation of Wilhelmina Evangelical Lutheran Church

A complete copy of our cemetery policy is available here. (pdf)