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Spiritual Life

MEMORIAL SERVICES
Planning your Memorial Service
Chaplain Theresa M. Brion
 

Having a conversation about a memorial service that reflects our lives, values and beliefs is a gift to those who must make decisions after we die. To the best of our ability, we are responsible for helping others know how to attend to our affairs when we no longer are able to do it for ourselves. You may find it helpful in focusing your thoughts and having those conversations if you write down your responses to the questions on the attached pages. You may then use them in conversations with your loved ones and/or those whom you appoint to carry out your wishes. Give them a copy of what you have written.

In planning a memorial service or other gathering, the possible biblical and other readings are rather limitless, based on spirituality, religious preferences, and the personal interests of the person and the family. Many people have spiritual or other poetry, letters or other readings that offer them meaning and they wish to include in the service. For example, some people wish to include a poem or reading that was part of their wedding service or perhaps a poem that speaks to family relationships (e.g., a reading about parenting or grand-parenting) or even a particular career.  Chaplain Theresa welcomes the opportunity to meet with you to help you in coordinating and designing your service or other gathering.

Do not allow the attached list to limit your thinking but instead use it as a springboard for thinking further about what is important to you—what you value—as well as what you hope for your family members, friends and other persons of support. You may prefer to develop your own lists to have the conversations that you need about what you want and reflects the values of you and those closest to you.

To help you get started, or if you have questions, you may wish to contact a GHBC chaplain. Chaplains respect your religious or philosophical beliefs and can help you clarify your wishes. You also may want to contact your pastor or other religious leader.

Some residents choose to have a memorial service at GHBC. Others wish to host a gathering or event that is not religious in any manner. Remember that the gathering may be religious or non-religious and that the service, remembrance, reception, or most any other gathering can be held in the Chapel of All Saints or in another location within GHBC, such as the Formal Parlor, the Board Room, the Top of the West, or the Auditorium.

Confused by the various memorial gatherings and services postings?
You are not alone. Because of COVID-19 concerns, we must continue to limit the number in attendance, with those limitations dependent on room size and the nature of the memorial gathering. If the  says “private” or “by invitation,” attendance is “by invitation.” Restricting the number of those who may attend is difficult for all families, particularly since it frequently is a much lower number than they might otherwise wish to attend. Please respect that difficulty and any signage indicating that a gathering is “private.” Other gatherings indicate that you must “sign up” or RSVP to attend. This may be because the number must remain at or below a certain number, yet a “by-invitation” arrangement is either undesirable or impracticable. After the maximum number have signed up, the person fielding the sign-ups may need to tell you “sorry, but we have already reached the capacity.” You also may see an “RSVP” notation for services off-site, as the family does not wish to publicize the location and time or the Zoom information for privacy or security reasons. (We are fortunate at GHBC that we do not need a friend to stay at our homes to prevent vandalism or theft during a gathering, thanks to our security and reception desk staff. We so easily forget these concerns that do not impact us at GHBC.) Thank you for your patience as we continue to be mindful of the COVID-19 protocols that must remain in place to reduce the risk of COVID break-through cases within our resident and staff population.

 

Click HERE for things to consider when planning your memorial service or celebration of life.

 

 

 

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