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Baptist funerals

The Baptist Church teaches that physical death involves no loss of consciousness, that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ, that there is a separation of soul and body, and that such separation will continue until the first resurrection, when Spirit, soul, and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord.

Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Baptists teach the bodily resurrection of all people, the saved to eternity, and the unsaved to everlasting punishment.

Funeral and memorial services aim to be personal, uplifting, meaningful and comforting.

The Pastor should be contacted prior to any arrangements being made. The Pastor may visit and pray with the family at their home.

The Baptist Church allows burial or cremation.

Approved/typical venues

Baptist church and the selected crematorium or cemetery. The Minister, often called Pastor, will give helpful advice.

To contact your nearest church, visit the church’s website.

Length of funeral

There are three types of services:

  • A small private service (memorial service). This is not longer than an hour. This will be decided in discussion with the Pastor during which the content of the memorial service will be decided. This will be uplifting in order to celebrate the life on earth of the departed and to comfort the family.
  • A regular service at the funeral home, crematorium or chapel/church. This will be the length of time agreed with the funeral director who will book the time that is convenient with the family and the church or crematorium at which the service will be held. These are normally of 15 or 20 minutes.
  • A committal service at the grave. This depends on individual circumstances and family wishes to be discussed with the funeral director and the Pastor. In normal circumstances it will be a short service.

Things to discuss with your Minister (or Pastor)

  • Who will be the pallbearers?
  • Who will do the readings?
  • Are there special prayers, songs, hymns or other music you would like included?
  • How much are the church fees?
  • Are there other fees, for example for the organist?
  • Should you bring your children if they are young?
  • What about a headstone to mark the grave?
  • Are there rules about what memorials you can choose?

Typical Order of Service

The Pastor will begin with a welcome and offers some words about the deceased. Scripture readings will follow and family or friends may also talk about the deceased.

The service will also include music - either from the choir or family and friends. It is appropriate to have an Invitational Period during the funeral.

Secular music, readings and other features

The family will make the arrangements and offer suggestions for the service, but the Pastor has the final decision. The Pastor will usually welcome suggestions from the family regarding eulogies, readers, singers, and special prayers - allowing the service to be as personal as possible.

Baptist funerals are good examples of the 'pick 'n mix' that allows religious and secular elements to create a personalised farewell by accepting the family’s wishes for appropriate secular music and readings.

Should we have a gathering afterwards?

This is optional and can be discussed with your Pastor.

Celebration services

These are optional and can be discussed with your Pastor.

Planning ahead

If you want a Baptist funeral, make this a funeral wish which you place in your Lifebox. This is opened on your death so your next of kin can read and carry out your wishes.

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