Pentecostalism began in the early 20th Century by Christians believing in the second coming of Christ. Pentecostals therefore tend to be more concerned with the resurrection of the dead than with life after death.
It is a fast growing form of Christianity, becoming extremely popular in America, Asia and Africa.
Pentecostalism is a charimatic and emotional based faith and funerals are therefore highly personal and celebratory.
Funerals will draw on texts such as John 11, 25. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies."
They will be positive in their approach and the attitudes of those attending, though understanding and supportive to the family members and close friends who are sad at the passing of a loved one.
The service will be given by the Pastor, or Minister.
Contact your local church to organise the service and agree the venue. The service may take place at the church, funeral home or at the graveside in accordance with the relatives’ wishes.
Length of funeral and other 'rules'
The length of funeral can vary and this is something you should discuss with your local Pastor.
Pentecostal funerals are often long and elaborate services, with much informality and freedom of expression.
A great deal of time is spent organising the appropriate farewell for the deceased.
It is likely that the Pastor or family members will also recommend a suitable funeral director.
The funeral director will give valuable advice based on experience of the community and the diverse range of funerals he or she has helped organise.
Things to discuss with your Pastor
- Who will be the pallbearers?
- Who will do the readings?
- Are there any special readings you want?
- Are there special prayers you would like included?
- Are there special songs/hymns or music that you would like to suggest?
- How much are the church fees?
- Are there other fees, for example for the organist?
- Should you bring young children?
- What about a headstone to mark the grave?
- Are there rules about what memorials you can choose?
Order of Service
- Reading of Scriptures (selected portions are written in the Minister’s Manual);
- Hymn/songs - usually including 'call and response' features;
- Remarks on the occasion - condolences, reminiscenses;
- Lord’s Prayer or Benediction. Sometimes the Benediction is not pronounced until the end of the committal service at the graveside.
- Dismissal - the Pastor precedes the coffin out of the church to the hearse. He also precedes the coffin from the hearse to the graveside and stands at the head of the grave to conduct the committal service.
In predominately African and Caribbean Pentecostal funerals it is common to include a viewing at the end of the service.
In a cremation service, the same general order given for burial is used though with the words: "We commit the body to the elements," instead of: "We commit the body to the ground."
Secular music, readings and other features
The family can offer suggestions and help prepare the service to make the funeral as appropriate to the departed personal as possible.
Secular music and readings are likely to be agreed, though with a message relevant to the life and death of the loved one.
Much of the singing and tributes will have a 'call and response' quality.
If you are planning your pentacostal funeral, think about creating your funeral music playlist.
Should we have a gathering afterwards?
There is often a large and, when appropriate, joyful reception following the burial with friends and relatives.
Often an appropriate way to enable family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, team mates celebrate the life of the departed...and for a party afterwards. (SL-B)