Funerals & Memorials
When someone we love dies, there are many things to consider, many decisions to make, often when we are in the midst of shock and pain. The ministers are available to assist you at the time of death. We uphold the dignity and sacredness of life. We believe that life should be celebrated as God’s gift and that, even in death, we are called to celebrate and give thanks for life. Throughout history, people have developed rituals – ways of expressing in words, actions and symbols – to mark the occasion of death. Some of these take place in private, or with close family members and friends; others may be a public witness to faith.
As soon as possible after a death, contact one of our ministers who will meet with you to begin planning for an appropriate service. The timing of a service is generally determined in conversation between family members (or ‘next of kin’), the minister and the funeral director.
The minister will want to meet with members of the family or close friends to plan the service and gain details about the person’s life. This meeting may take place at the church, in a family member’s home or on occasion, at the funeral home that is handling arrangements.
The service may be a funeral (which means a casket containing the person’s body is present) or a memorial service (with or without an urn with the ashes present). Either service can take place in the church.
A brief service of committal may also take place at the time of interment of the body or ashes at a cemetery or crematorium.
The minister will outline the service with those gathered to do the planning. It normally includes scripture readings, a short meditation, prayers, a time of remembrance about the person’s life, and often hymns. Family members or appropriate others may be asked to share remembrances or read scripture. A simple order of service or printed bulletin will be prepared if desired. If a more elaborate (coloured) bulletin is desired, the church office staff can direct you to outside printers.
If the service takes place in the church, it is appropriate to have people welcomed as they arrive. Greeters may be members of the church or family and friends. The funeral home will discuss pallbearers with you if there is a casket present.
Receptions following the service can take place in our church foyer. We have a full commercial kitchen available for catering.
While the service is an important point in our move through grief, it is not all that is needed at this time. Pastoral Care at Mount Seymour United Church includes concern for individuals and families after the funeral or memorial service is concluded. One of the ministers will be keeping in touch, if you wish, as weeks and months go by.
Many services taken by United Church Ministers will be for people who have little connection with the life of the church. We don’t say things in the service that assume a Christian profession on the part of the deceased person to which he or she did not profess. Nevertheless, in these circumstances, the service will reflect the Christian leadership of the Minister in it’s prayers, music and readings.
Music must be chosen in consultation with the minister and the music director. It may be a hymn, solo, choir anthem (if a choir is present), or other music appropriate to the person and occasion. We encourage the family to have a member read scripture when possible. The possibility of a PowerPoint form of presentation is available, but needs to be prepared by family or friends of the deceased.
Arrangements for use of the church’s equipment (projector and computer) must be made when the service is being planned.
When the body is not present a funeral service is called a “Memorial Service”. At a Memorial Service we offer a table at the front of the hall to place a picture of the deceased and other meaningful symbols.
Flowers can be placed in the Sanctuary, and the reception area.
It is most advisable to take children to funerals at a very young age especially if the deceased person has been very close to the child. The child is most helped spiritually and psychologically when everyone around the child openly discusses death and the funeral service with the child. The child may wish to bring a favourite Teddy Bear or doll to hold during the funeral service. If a child is having a particularly difficult time, or is simply uncomfortable or bored they may be taken to the Chapel where the service can be enjoyed through windows and speakers.
The family members are encouraged to sit in the front pews of the church. Traditionally they remain seated throughout the service, although are welcome to stand as they wish for hymns, blessings and at other times when the congregation is invited to stand. The congregation is always present to love and support them.
You may drop off your deposit and payment at the church, or you can mail a cheque payable to Mount Seymour United Church to:
Mount Seymour United Church
1200 Parkgate Avenue
North Vancouver, BC V7H 2X9
Email transfers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with a note specifying organizers name.
If family of a member or non-member wishes to contribute to the Church, we invite you to make a gift of a monetary donation to the Mt Seymour United Church Memorial Fund. This donation is income tax receiptable. Specific memorial gifts are discouraged. Money given to this fund is designated and administered by the Official Board of the Mount Seymour United Church.