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Do you attend funerals?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by SmalltownPastor, Jul 12, 2014.

  1. SmalltownPastor

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    Do you attend funerals for people that you didn't personally know, but you know a handful of family members?

    I've attended several funerals in this way over the years, especially when the person who passed was a close family member of a church member. This might seem a little odd to some, but I consider the funeral to be more about the comfort of those present than about remembering the deceased. Obviously, for those who knew the person, remembering the deceased is a big part of the funeral service, but comforting the present is always my focus when preaching a funeral, even as I share stories I've heard about the deceased.

    So, since comforting the present is my main focus, I sometimes attend funerals for people I didn't know, if I know that I'll know several people there. But I realized this morning that I've never seen another pastor do this. Whenever I've preached funerals, I was always the only pastor present (unless they personally knew the deceased). Surely I wasn't the only pastor who had connections with family members. I'm one of the newer pastors in town.

    I'm interested to hear some of your practices when it comes to this.
     
  2. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Smalltown,

    I am with you. I have went to funeral of folks I did not know. But I may have known, their children or other relatives.

    As I say, funerals are for the living (closure) not for the dead

    And when I am there, I can always be a comfort to the grieving.

    SALTY
     
  3. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    Absolutely!! I don't see why you wouldn't go if you were close to a loved one of the deceased.
     
  4. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O. Well-Known Member
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    My pastor attends funerals all the time for loved ones of our church members. So do a slew of people at my church. It's about being there for your church family whether you know the deceased or not.

    I know that I appreciated the people who came to my grandparents' funerals who did not know them at all - but who knew me and my family.
     
  5. exscentric

    exscentric Well-Known Member
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    Plan to be at my own, if they have one. Try not to do funerals. Been to six in my 74 years, two were my parents, two were teen friends in high school, one unknown when a kid and one was father of a friend.
     
  6. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman Active Member

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    It depends on how well I knew some of the family or the dearly departed.

    If I don't go to the funeral, which generally is probable, I do attempt to go to visitation. I always send a card.
     
  7. 12strings

    12strings Active Member

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    I am one of the pastors of our church, but not the senior pastor.

    Generally if I know that a mother, brother, sister, etc. of a church member that I know fairly well passes away, I will most likely try to go to the visitation, but not necessarily the funeral.

    If it is an actual church member or friend who passed away, then I would be more likely to go to the funeral.

    Unless I am extremely close to the family, I generally don't go to the grave-side service.

    However, there is a mother of a church friend who's funeral is going to be 2.5 hours away. I do not feel obligated to attend, but will simply try to be supportive of him and his family before and after.
     
  8. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg New Member

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    I guess you could say that I "attended" quite a few funerals because one of my many jobs I held while working my way through college was at one of the local funeral homes.

    Of course, since I never was a preacher, I never officiated at any of these funerals.
     
  9. Mrs.Owl

    Mrs.Owl New Member

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    I have twice for people I didn't know, but it was only because I was needed to play the piano.
     
  10. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
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    Do you attend funerals?

    Yeah, that's what I do to them. But very few have I attended when I didn't know the deceased at all. I am in agreement that funerals are "for" the living. A lot of things I have heard and read about what the deceased "knows" are nothing but corny. For example, I remember reading that Desi Arnaz and Fred MacMurray were pallbearers at William Frawley's (who co-starred in both their TV series) funeral, and they joked about how he must be "laughing his %#^ off at their struggling to carry his coffin," because he was so heavy.
     
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