Joel Sarli was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the second editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.

Some Suggestions About Appropriate Procedure

  1. As soon as the elder know than he is to have charge of the Funeral service he should hasten to the home of the deceased to offer comfort to the bereaved.
  2. He should ascertain the wishes  of the family cocerning the funeral arrangement and carry out these wishes to a manner a give confidence comfort and complete satisfaction.
  3. The funeral service calls for good taste and tact.
  4. It is, in all probability, the time wfien the elder gets closest to his people—when the heart-strings are vibrant.
  5. The simpler the burial service the better.
  6. Let the service be full of heart power and sincere sympathy.
  7. The elder does not speak as a judge in relation to the deceased, but rather as a comforter to the bereaved.
  8. Because the elder will probably address more people in the funeral, or memorial service, than on any other occasion, he should make ample, thoughtful preparation.
  9. A brief obituary may be read to bring before the assembly of relatives and friends a few essential facts regarding the deceased.
  10. A brief story of the life of the deceased, spoken in high appreciation of the sterling qualities of character exemplified, will often be very appropriate.
  11. In any event the elder will do well to make ample preparation for a funeral service in order to say and do that which is right.
  12. It is a worthy practice for the elder to return with the family to the home of the deceased after the memorial service. Some of the most effective ministries of comfort and understanding can be offered at this time. The tension has been released. There is the satisfaction that all that was possible to do has been done to lay away the body of the loved one in reasonable dignity and order. The hearts of relatives are open for kindly suggestions from the elder.
  13. During the time of bereavement it will be possible for the elder to get acquainted with other members of the family and circle of friends. Lasting and helpful contacts will be made at this time.

Suggestions for Funeral and Memorial Service Programs

1. The order of service for a funeral should be simple.
2. Several factors must be taken into account.

a. It is wise to honor the requests of the family of the deceased wherever possible,
b. A service held in a home, will usually be less formal and quite brief,
c. Local practice is usually a sufficient guide.

Suggestive Program

1. Instrumental Music (Hymns of Comfort)
2. Scriptural Reading
3. Prayer of invocation
4. Hymn
5. Scripture Selections
6. Pastoral Prayer
7. Hymn
8. Obituary or Life Story
9. Memorial Address
10. Hymn
11. Benediction
12. Instrumental Music

Suggestive Service at the Grave

1. Scripture Reading
2. Poem or Bible Reading of specific passages
3. Benediction

Quotation from the Spirit of Prophecy

A Christian's funeral can provided a powerful witness for Christianity.

"When we called at night we found the young man very near his end. His mortal frame was racked with pain. We prayed with him, and his heavy breathing and groaning ceased while we were praying. The blessing of God rested down in that sick room, and we felt that angels were hovering around.

"He was relieved a little, yet knew that he was dying. He tried to have us understand that hope lightened up the future, and that to him it was not a dark uncertainty. We understood from broken sentences that he should have part in the first resurrection, and then be made immortal. Said he, 'Tell Bro. Bates that I will meet him then.' His faltering tongue often spoke that dear name, so precious to the dying Christian-Jesus—in whom all his hope of eternal life centered. He fell asleep in Jesus a few hours after we left" (Spiritual Gifts, Vol 2, page 92).