Worship

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Funerals

First Presbyterian extends God’s ministry to people at all significant times in their lives: at birth, baptism and marriage, in times of illness and trouble and, most appropriately, at death. At your time of loss, we are here to grieve and pray with you.

We are also available to help members arrange for funerals or memorial services. To make funeral or memorial arrangements, please contact Rev. Scott Simpson (scotts@fpcsat.org / 210-271-2712). If you are making funeral arrangements with us, please read our guidelines for funerals and memorial services to plan specific aspects of the service ahead of time:

Guidelines for Funerals and Memorial Services

Purpose

The resurrection is a central doctrine of the Christian faith and shapes Christian’s attitudes and responses to the event of death.  Death brings loss, sorrow, and grief to all.  In the face of death, Christians do not bear bereavement in isolation but are sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit and the community of faith.  The Church offers a ministry of love and hope to all who grieve.  As this is the basis of a Christian funeral defined by the Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., the Session of First Presbyterian Church has set forth the following policy on funeral/memorial services which occur at the church.

Pastor

It is expected that primary arrangements will be made with one of First Presbyterian Church’s pastors.  Typically, one pastor will officiate at the service, though there are times when it will be appropriate for two or more pastors to participate.  Requests for the participation of a “guest” pastor to assist in the service must be made to the officiating pastor; who, if it is appropriate, will extend an invitation.

Service at Church

Church members are encouraged to use the church or funeral/memorial services.  Just as we are baptized by God in church have been nourished by God through the church, so it is wholly appropriate that thanksgiving to God or our lives should be offered in the church.

A Time of Worship

In the Presbyterian tradition a funeral/memorial service is considered a service of worship, and will be approached with dignity and joyful celebration accorded worship.  A typical order of worship will include: prelude and postlude of sacred music; hymns of praise and faith; scripture lessons from the Old and New Testaments; a message; prayers of intercession and thanksgiving; a benediction.  In consultation with the pastor, other elements, such as remarks from family members and friends, may be included in the service.  The officiating pastor shall make the final decision on the elements of worship.

Bulletin

The church will provide a bulletin for services held at the church.  The service of worship should be planned by the pastor, with input from the family for special requests.

Flowers

It is appropriate to use flowers as an expression of sympathy and should be limited in order that they do not distract from the purpose of worship.  Two floral arrangements may placed in the sanctuary.  Additional flowers may be placed in the narthex and the McCullough room.

Service Music and Fees

A funeral or memorial service is a service of worship and a witness to the resurrection.  All music sung or played before and during the service should be appropriate to Christian worship.  Unless the family has specific requests, the organist will choose an appropriate program of organ music (15 minutes in length) to be played as a prelude to the service and a postlude at the end of the service.

Any funeral or memorial service hosted at First Presbyterian Church that includes music will require the use of our church organist at a fee of $150.  Payment of this fee may consist of any of the following options:

  1. Check made payable directly to the organist (either by the family or funeral home)
  2. Check made payable to the church for the expense of the organist (please include the words “organist fee” in the description of the check).

Additional Music Options

The following is a list of additional music options available for funerals or memorial services at First Presbyterian Church.  These options are based on availability given the date and time of service and must be confirmed by the Organist or Minister of Music.  You may discuss these options with the officiating pastor of the service or you may contact the Organist or Minister of Music directly for more information.

In order to plan selections of pieces for the service, please click here for a worksheet that will assist you in selecting fitting music for the funeral or memorial service.

Optional services:

  • Vocal Soloist – $100
  • Professional Singers Quartet – $75-$100 per singer; $300-$400 total
  • Professional Singers Octet – $75-$100 per singer; $600-$800 total*

(*may also require a conductor at an additional cost of $125)

  • Sanctuary Choir – limited availability – must be approved by the Minister of Music; cost to include Professional Octet plus an additional donation to the Music Enrichment Fund.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Jae Ha, Associate Minister of Music and Organist for all funeral and memorial services at 226-0215 ext. 229, jaeh@fpcsat.org or Tom Dooling, Minister of Music at tomd@fpcsat.org.

Casket/Cremains

The casket/cremains of the deceased may be present for the service, and shall arrive at the church at least 45 minutes prior to the announced start time.  In order that the worship may focus on God, and upon the gift of the resurrection, rather than upon the earthly remains of the deceased, the casket will be closed during the service.  The church will make available a white funeral pall symbolizing our baptism and the joy of our inclusion in Christ’s victory over death.

Committal Service

The officiating pastor is available to lead a brief committal service at the cemetery where the casket/cremains are to be interred.

Interment

When the committal service is outside of San Antonio, it is appropriate for a pastor in another community to perform this service.  Our church will be pleased to assist in finding an appropriate pastor, and would provide an honorarium for this service.

Military/Masonic Honors

Such honors are not considered part of Christian worship and are therefore more appropriately carried out at the funeral home or cemetery.

Reception

A reception will be provided for the family of the deceased by the Care and Concern Committee of First Presbyterian Church.  Families are encouraged to give an honorarium of $75 to help cover the expenses of the meal.

Pictures & Photography

As the focus of Christian worship is God, it is not appropriate to display pictures of the deceased in the sanctuary during the service.  Photo displays of the deceased are encouraged, and more appropriately placed in the McCullough room for the reception.  Non-flash photography is permitted during the service from a stationary position behind the  worshipping congregation (preferably the balcony).

Memorials

Gifts given in memory of a loved one are appropriate and welcomed.  First Presbyterian Church or a charitable organization of the donor’s choice are potential recipients of such gifts.

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