Funerals, Memorials and Thanksgivings

The Wesley-on-Beaumont Uniting Church Congregation is inspired by God's own compassion for the grieving, in offering pastoral support, spiritual companionship and religious services at times of grief and loss. Just as Christ wept both for his close friend, Lazarus, and for all of Jerusalem, there is no one who falls outside the love and compassion of God. Wesley's services are available to all, whatever the background or situation in life.

Funeral Directors or Next-of-kin, seeking to book a funeral in the Church, are requested to nominate at least two possible times. Please consider the need for the Minister to plan to make a pastoral visit prior to the Funeral. The Minister (often accompanied by an Elder or Carer) is also available to attend viewings, services in Chapels and at Cemeteries and Crematoria. There is no Columbarium (for the internment of ashes) at the Church, however, there is a memorial garden.

Funeral and Thanksgiving Services are celebrated by the Minister-in-Placement or by others, at her invitation. Scheduling of Services needs to take into account the availability of: Funeral Directors; Minister/celebrant; Church; Cemetery or Crematorium; Organist and Verger. Every effort will be made to accommodate special requests and needs, but we do ask your understanding - depending on the particular circumstance, there may be a number of different people to coordinate.

What can we expect?

Generally, the Minister (and often with an Elder/Carer) will want to visit once or twice in order to meet with the bereaved and prepare appropriately. In exceptional circumstances some preparation may be possible by telephone or email contact, but at least one face-to-face meeting is preferable. Every Service is tailored to reflect the uniqueness of each person. We understand that this time is important and often difficult, so it is our care and concern to be respectful and diligent in our support.

When visiting, the Minister has the following aims:
- to offer the condolences of the Congregation;
- to provide any practical and spiritual assistance that may be required;
- to evaluate the particular needs and circumstances;
- to learn something of personality, character and story of the deceased - what/who they loved and valued and what they might best be remembered for; and
- to meet with (and pray for) those who are most effected by the deceased's passing.

Sometimes when a Minister visits, people are still 'in shock'. Others have been prepared for what is happening for a long time. Some conversations are very practical and straightforward, others involve stories that ramble, some laughter and some tears. The time following a death can be a roller-coaster of emotions and reactions. The Minister will try to respond to the needs of the situation, so feel free to say what is helpful or not.

Guest Presiders or Celebrants
When invited Guest Presiders or Celebrants are leading the Service, The Welcome, Call to Worship and Closing Benediction (Blessing) will be given by the Minister-in-Placement, one of the Congregation's Commissioned Celebrants or an Elder of the Congregation. The Congregation's Verger is also present to assist with practical matters.

Please note: ALL Services held at Wesley require the services of the Verger. The Verger handles opening and closing of the church, dealing with sound system, assisting the Minister, setting up for the service, etc...

What Pastoral Services are available that are related to times of Grief and Loss?

Funeral Service
People gather to acknowledge the life of the deceased and to mourn with those who are left behind. The pattern of Service includes:

  • Gathering as a Community of People before God
  • Remembering and Celebrating a Human Life
  • Prayers for those who remain
  • Committing the Soul of the Deceased to God's care
  • Laying to rest the Deceased's earthly remains.

There is considerable flexibility to personalize both the Service and the space where it is held.

Memorial Service OR Thanksgiving for a Life
Similar to a Funeral, this Service acknowledges the life of the deceased and provides for people to mourn with those who are left behind, but there is no Committal of Earthly remains. The pattern of Service includes:

  • Gathering as a Community of People before God
  • Remembering or Giving Thanks for a Human Life
  • Prayers for those who remain
  • Prayers for the Soul of the Deceased now in God's care.

Veterans (RSL Rite - usually incorporated after the Eulogies into the Funeral Service)
The "We are assembled here today to pay our last tribute to

[...NAME...] who served with us in war and has now gone to join the great army
of those who fell in battle in defence of their nation."

came through the ordeal of war and how well s/he served will be known to his/her Unit comrades of .............................. How s/he served his/her comrades and friends on his/her return is known to the members of the RSL and his/her family, church family and friends who also mourn with me the passing of a loyal friend."

(Brief Description of National Service)

"Remembering his/her many qualities and the happy times we spent together - we join in a silent pledge - to sink all differences, one with the other, and extend the hand of comradeship to all in need as
[...NAME...] would have us do."

"As brother/sister follows brother into the great beyond - we who are left close our ranks to carry on the RSL tradition of unselfish service - to the disabled, to the bereaved and to maintain the highest ideals of citizenship."

THE LAST POST a moment of silence REVEILLE may be included at this point.

With Poppy in hand the speaker says;
O Valiant Hearts, who to your glory came.
Through dust of conflict and through battle flame.
Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved.
Your memory hallowed in the land you loved.

(Navy Alternative:

They have no grave but the cruel sea,
no flowers lie at their head,
their tombstone is a rusty hulk,
afast on the ocean bed.)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them. We will remember them.

Lest we forget. Lest we forget.

Prior to the Commendation and Committal, the representative may be invited to remove the flag and present it to a family member to bear the flag after the coffin as part of the recession.

Interment (or Scattering of Ashes)
The reverent disposal of Ashes takes place some time after the Funeral or Memorial. The Church is able to provide a brief but tailored Service which usually includes a Prayer, some Story-sharing and a Blessing of those who are left behind.

Gathered Community Services
Wesley-on-Beaumont also offers the following:
- in the spirit of community thanksgiving, paying tribute to and remembering all those who have offered national service (whatever their nation) and those who have been effected by wars and conflicts.
All Saints' Day
- remembering the lives of people who have shaped our own.
Remembrance Day
- remembering those fallen in wars and conflicts.
Blue Christmas
- a gathering of people who face Christmas without loved ones - a time of mutual support and acknowledgement that this Christmas represents a time of loss.

Follow-up Pastoral Visits
Pastoral Visits can take place 'at home', in a coffee shop, in a park, at 'Bill's Place Cafe' in the Church or in the Minister's Vestry. This is a time for informal conversation and, if desired, a prayer or blessing. At such times, our role is to offer spiritual companionship and support. Where professional counseling is desirable, we are happy to make referrals to suitably qualified Counsellors and Therapists.

Church Costs, Fees and Donations
Please contact the office for a current list of costs, fees and donation.

Floral Arrangements – fresh floral arrangements can be provided according to budget (these may be externally provided, but the Congregation can also provide arrangements of silk or non-perishable flowers for use in the Church at no charge).
Refreshments and spaces for Gathering before and after Services can also be arranged. Please talk to us about your needs. Several options are available.
Pastoral Visits are a gift of the Congregation. Costs are met through the weekly offerings at Congregational worship.

In cases of financial hardship, the Congregation also bears the Church's costs related to Funerals, offering this gift in Christ's name. The Congregation welcomes donations, from those who are able, to support this ministry. Many people also support this work and the maintenance of the property through donations and the provision of bequests (considerations made in people's wills). This also enables the Minister to be available to conduct some ‘Pauper Funerals’.

Other Support
From time to time, Wesley-on-Beaumont also hosts Bereavement Support Groups, Carer Support Groups and Workshops about Loss and Grief. If you would like to know more, please let the office know and someone will contact you. People who are interested in being Celebrants, Carers or Volunteers, in this ministry of compassion, are invited to meet with the Minister to discuss the possibilities of service and the expectations about training and accountability. (Training is provided.)

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