How to Plan an Honoring Memorial Service
On behalf of the First B church family and leadership, we want you to know how sorry we are for your loss. As you grieve, we desire to support you in any way we can.
Please know that we are here to pray, comfort, and walk with you today and in the days ahead.
May God give you His comfort and peace during this difficult time.
In His Love,
In this short planning guide, you’ll find practical help to guide you in your decision-making as you prepare for your loved one’s memorial service. With so many necessary and difficult decisions facing you, and all needing to happen while you are in the midst of grieving, we hope the pages that follow will offer help, and even comfort, to you in your journey to remember, celebrate, and honor your loved one.
Planning a Memorial at First Baptist Church
The following gives you some of the key steps that are helpful in planning a memorial service:
Step 1: Identify and appoint one person who will represent the family in planning the memorial service, make decisions about the service, and communicate the plan for the Service.
Step 2: Identify a Pastor who will support you and conduct the Memorial Service.
Step 3: Decide who will participate and share in the Service. The Service Planning Guide will guide you through the specifics of the planning process and help you make decisions ahead of time so the team at First Baptist Church can best support you.
Step 4: Meet with an FBC Memorial Service Coordinator to talk through an order of service. The FBC Memorial Coordinator will support you by coordinating logistics at the church and be able to answer specific questions about what is available to you.
The following is a suggested order for a Memorial Service:
- Opening Prayer
- Reading of Life Story
- Scripture Reading and/or Special Song
- Sharing of Memories
- Devotional Message
- Scripture Reading or Special Song
- Invitation to Reception
Step 5: Communicate the plan for the service to family members and participants.
Step 6: Confirm final arrangements and requests with the FBC Memorial Coordinator one week before service. We aim to serve you and your family, but because of the volume of requests, we are often unable to support special requests less than a week before the service.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a typical Memorial Service last?
We have found that for most families, a Memorial Service will last 45 minutes to 1 hour. It not only seems to allow people an appropriate time to sit and remember, it also allows for time after the Service for them to interact and share memories together.
Should we do an open mic?
This is a common question that many families ask. Having conducted many memorial services, our pastors have found that over the years it is better to select ahead of time who will share so they can prepare and arrange their comments. We typically encourage families to choose 3-4 people to share and to let them know ahead of time, so they can prepare for what they would like to say. We encourage others to share their their memories at the reception afterward.
If an open mic is preferred, it is good to have someone (like the Pastor) moderate the sharing so no one person dominates the time.
Are tables for pictures and/or easels available?
Yes, upon request.
Can we put up displays or decor?
If you would like to bring a photo on an easel, a guest book, or other decor, you are welcome to set these up in the Lobby or in front of stage. Unfortunately, we do not do decorations on the stage itself; however, many families choose to display a photo on an easel in front of the stage.
What instruments are available for special songs?
A piano is provided, if requested on the Memorial Service planning guide. Guitars or other instruments must be provided by musicians.
Are you able to record the service?
Yes, we provide an audio recording of the Memorial Service, if requested. A CD can hold a maximum of 80 minutes of audio recording. If the Service extends beyond 80 minutes, the CD will cut off after that time. Video recording is not available.
Can I play a special pre-recorded music track as part of the service?
Yes, we can play a requested song for the Service.
Can I play my own playlist when people enter and exit?
We don’t do custom playlists before and after the Service, but we will provide background music as people exit and enter the Service.
Can we bring in catering or other food for a reception?
Yes, as arranged ahead of time with the FBC Memorial Coordinator. Kitchen access and refrigeration is available to support your reception needs.
What does the FBC Service Team provide?
If requested in advance, a volunteer team of FBC members will provide cookies, beverages, and paper products for the reception.
Are utensils available, such as cake knives?
We do not have these utensils available, but you are welcome to bring them.
Is platform handicap accessible?
Yes, the platform is accessible from the backstage.
Is smoking permissible at FBC?
Designated smoking areas can be setup outside, if requested ahead of time.
Is alcohol permissible for receptions at FBC?
Our church policy does not allow serving of alcohol on church premises.
Who can have a Memorial Service at FBC?
First Baptist Church (FBC) is available for memorials for church members and regular attenders, as well as their immediate families. If this is not your situation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What days are available for Memorial Services at FBC?
Due to the high demand for building usage, the days that FBC is available for memorials can vary. Please contact the FBC Memorial Coordinator to discuss possible dates.