Dear Loved Ones,
I occasionally have to meet with families to plan a funeral or memorial service. I find that many are unaware of the final wishes of their loved ones. I often discover that many relatives are “unchurched”, so their knowledge or interest in a religious funeral service may be minimal or non-existent. As I prepare the funeral or memorial service, I ask about favorite hymns and scripture readings and often receive a blank and teary-eyed stare. Some work hard to recall a favorite song or poem but others offer a shrug and ask me to choose “whatever” is appropriate. Unfortunately, a few are even dismissive of a religious funeral service, and fail to realize the depth of their loved one’s faith in God, love for His church, or the many relationships they may have built at St. Mary Anne’s.
Let’s not be dismissive. Together, let us continue to maintain a sacred respect for human dignity, our church and most of all, our God. To that end, I want to encourage you to provide a guidebook for your family, so they have an understanding of your final wishes.
On Sunday, many of you sat through an Adult Forum presentation on the Five Wishes—a living will document that can provide a blueprint for family and friends when you are unable to speak for yourself. The Five Wishes document is comprised of medical, legal, emotional and spiritual components—so you can express your wishes in a comprehensive, dignified and personal way.
We also included in the presentation a listing of noted funeral hymns, appropriate scripture readings, and an Episcopal funeral service planning form. In addition, we shared an article from the Episcopal Church on memorial gifts to the church, with the hope that St. Mary Anne’s continued legacy, as a sacred institution, is an important consideration for you.
The conversation just began. Next week we continue it, when we host a free Life Planning Seminar , sponsored by Crouch Funeral Home, on Wednesday, October 23 from 6-8PM in the Parish Center. Three experts—a pre-planning specialist Funeral Director, the local Register of Wills, and an Elder law and Estate Planning Attorney—will be on hand to answer questions about funeral planning, probate, wills, etc. Seating is limited, so please register at 410-287-6166 (Crouch Funeral Home) or at our church office (410-287-5522) by Monday, October 21st.
If you need a copy of the Five Wishes document, along with the additional handouts we shared yesterday, we will have them available at next week’s workshop. We want you to be well-equipped and informed on this important matter, so please attend.