Planning the Funeral

Usually two problems arise in planning funerals. First, bereaved families know little or nothing about the desires of the deceased concerning the funeral. Second, the minister seldom has sufficient information about the deceased to write an inclusive life summary and eulogy.

Robert Watkins, pastor of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has developed two different forms for gathering this kind of information. One form is distributed to the congregation and allows them the opportunity to plan their own funeral. The other questionnaire collects information for a relevant funeral sermon.

Although some people refuse to think about their finite nature or preplanning their own funeral, Watkins believes it essential for the church to provide that opportunity. He does this in two ways.

A preplanning form, with an explanatory article, is included periodically in the church newsletter. Sometimes he mails a pastoral concern letter that includes a questionnaire ...

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