August 30, 2009


Death is certain for all of us. Scripture declares, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after death the Judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). How does the Moravian Church see death and who has to right to be buried by the Moravian Church? According to the Book of Order (1996) edition, only such claim to be buried by the Church who were at the time of their death connected with the congregation. For reasons known and unknown, many persons seek the assistance of the Church when there is a death in the family, even though they were never members of the Church. The Church must seek every opportunity to reach the unchurched, however, it must be consistent in what it does or it could breathe confusion and contention.

The funerals of departed members afford an opportunity that should never be neglected for reminding people to consider their course through time in the light of eternity. Both in the arrangements and in the conduct of funerals there should be special regard for simplicity. All forms of vain display should be discouraged as out of keeping with the spirit of such occasions.

The Funeral Service should give glory to God rather than glorifying any individual. However, the intimate knowledge which the Minister may have acquired of the spiritual experience of the departed, may give occasion to glorify the riches of the grace of Jesus, to encourage and warn the congregation, and to comfort the bereaved; but empty praise, or the passing of strict Judgment on the dead must be avoided. Judgment belongs to God. Worshippers must leave the worship with a sense of hope and for those who do not know Jesus must ask, what must I do to make it right with God?

A Eulogy or Memoir reflecting the Spiritual Pilgrimage of the deceased may be read in consultation with, and the approval of the Minister or Lay Pastor in charge. This Eulogy or Memoir may not exceed five (5) minutes.

Persons can sometimes make some strange demands on the Minister at Funerals. The Minister MUST know that he/she is in charge of the service and is expected to set the tone for what happens on such an occasion. The Minister must therefore lead and not be led. On no account should a Minister conducting a funeral agree to the reading of a WILL at the funeral service.

Are Memorial Services allowed in the Moravian Church? A Memorial service may be held in circumstances where a funeral service was not possible. In addition, a Memorial or Thanksgiving service may be held on request provided the deceased was not buried in the Conference.