Memorial Services and Funerals
When a member or friend of All Souls Church dies, a memorial service is usually held in the church. The congregation’s minister will officiate at this memorial service, planning the details with the individual’s family. Very much like other worship services, a memorial service will have music, singing, prayers, readings, and a eulogy. Great care is taken in Unitarian Universalist memorial services to lift up the person’s life and to remember them well. Often one or more family members will offer a tribute to the deceased. Sometimes the gathered congregation is invited to offer brief remembrances as well. If the person has been cremated, the ashes may be present. If the person was in the armed forces, military honors may be part of the ceremonies. Even at the most tragic of deaths, a heartfelt effort is made to remember the person well and to celebrate their life. Tears, laughter, stories, and songs all pay tribute to the person who has died.
There is no charge for memorial services for All Souls Church members, and the members of the church usually assist the family in hosting a reception for all who are present at the service. A team of member volunteers is ready to help families plan the reception, and, as is traditional in New England, the friends of the deceased are honored to prepare food and garden flowers for the gathering, welcome the guests, and clean up afterwards.