Here’s another little plug for your local independent funeral director instead of the big well known firm.
This morning’s conversation with the man from the big firm:
him: So at the end of the service, I’ll go to the front and thank you on behalf of the family, tell them where the reception is, and tell them about the donations box.
me: (surprised, and trying to go gently) Oh, I’ve not encountered that before. I don’t think there’s any need. There’s a notice about donations and the reception in the service booklet, and I can give them a reminder earlier in the service. That way at the end of the service the family can have a few minutes of quiet as they listen to the music they have chosen.
him: OK, so you’ll tell them about the donation and hotel at the end, and then I’ll come up and thank you.
me: no, that’s really not necessary. The end of the service is a time for quiet and prayer.
him: Well, I usually come up and thank the minister.
me: There is no need to. That is a time for prayer and not for announcements. It would change the dynamic of the service to start speaking again.
him: It wouldn’t change anything at all. That is what I always do.
At this point, I have to confess I gave up. This has been the most difficult funeral I’ve ever done because no one is listening to anyone, and each has a different story.
So, this one time I will suppress my liturgical common sense and let him do it. And next time, I will be able say with authority, ‘No, I have tried it that way. It doesn’t work.’
I don’t expect the undertaker to understand the liturgical choices one makes. I do expect him to know that there are choices to be made, and that making them is my job not his.
Does every minister go through this, I wonder, or are Piskie and C of S funerals really so different that the undertaker has come to believe that it’s his job to get the family to choose the hymns, arrange music before and after, and decide how the service ends?