Funeral Policies

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

Enola, PA

 Funeral Services

Although funeral services may be held in funeral homes, the best place for conducting a funeral service upon the death of a church member is in the sanctuary of the church to which he or she belonged.  At such times of loss, all may be reminded by even the place of service of what our hope and assurance are in Jesus Christ.  Therefore, all members of Zion are encouraged to use the church building for funeral services, and its sanctuary is offered for the funeral services of Christians whose membership in the church is in some other locality as well.

There can be alternative methods for the conducting of services at the time of death. These could include a private graveside service for family members as soon after death as possible and/or a public service of worship (memorial service) conducted at the church later.

 The pastor is available to go with the family to the funeral home to assist in making arrangements if desired.\

The pastor will be happy to meet with the family to plan any funeral worship arrangements or, if it is the desire of the family, she/he will develop the funeral liturgy.


Date and Time of Funerals

Dates and times for funerals at Zion are to be arranged in consultation with the pastor based on availability and the preferences of the deceasedís family.


Who Will Officiate?

Pastoral ethics require that Zionís pastor conduct all funeral services held at Zion, unless by agreement with another pastor, he/she is invited to share in the funeral or act on behalf of the pastor of Zion.  Any requests for another pastor or lay person to officiate or assist in the service must be approved by Zionís pastor.


Structure of the Funeral Service

A funeral service held in the church is a service of worship, celebrating the deceasedís life and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ.  Consequently, all parts of the service are to be consistent with the present worship practices of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Zion Lutheran Church. 

 Generally, the outline for the funeral and burial service as found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship will be followed.  The family may suggest other items to be included in the service, with the approval of the pastor. 

 The celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion, shared in community around the familiar center of the table, is full of healing power for those who grieve.  This sacrament is the gracious sign of the completion of baptism, the foretaste of the heavenly banquet, and the anticipation of all the faithful reunited before God and Christ, the Lamb of God.  Therefore, it is appropriate to share Holy Communion as part of the funeral service.  All those gathered for the service will be invited to the Table.

 Family participants as readers and communion assistants in the liturgy are welcomed.

 Pastoral Services to Members of Other Congregations

Sometimes pastors are asked to be involved at the funerals of people from other churches.  Zionís policy is that the responsibility and authority for pastoral acts or services rests with the pastor of the congregation where the deceased held membership.  If Zionís pastor is asked to provide pastoral services for members of other congregations, she/he will contact the clergy of the church in which the person held membership before providing the service.  The pastor who performs a service for a member of another congregation is obligated to provide information regarding that pastoral act or service performed to the pastor of the congregation in which the person held membership.  If the request for pastoral service involves an individual who has had conflicts with his/her pastor or congregation, the immediate family will be urged to resolve the difficulty prior to receiving pastoral service. 


Funerals for Non-members

Conducting funerals for people who have no connection with the church is a normal part of the ministerial obligation.  However, it is usually inappropriate to hold such a service in the church, and not all the parts of the service (i.e. references to baptism) may be appropriate.  By certain omissions and choices of alternate selections this service may be adapted for such funerals.

Funeral Music

Normally, the organist at Zion will play at all funerals in the church, as he/she is familiar with the instrument.  If the organist is unavailable for the service, s/he will make a reasonable effort to provide a suitable replacement.  In cases where an outside organist is desired, permission must be secured from the pastor and the Director of Music.  Additional musicians or soloists may be utilized.  (see Fees section)  Please note that the use of taped music or pre-recorded accompaniments is discouraged.

Music performed at a service of Christian burial is understood as an act of worship, offered to God in devotion, thanksgiving and praise.   Therefore, all music used during the funeral service (including prelude and postlude) must be sacred in nature and approved by the pastor and the Director of Music.  The pastor will consult with the family regarding special requests for music to be used during the service.

 Services by Fraternal Orders, Lodges etc.

Services by fraternal orders, lodges, veterans groups or other organizations are not appropriate at a Lutheran funeral service.  If they are held, they should be limited to the funeral home or graveside, and must be coordinated with the pastor prior to the service.  Such services are not to be confused or combined with the burial office and committal.



Paraments on the altar, lectern and pulpit will remain the color of the day or season. 

Families may wish to display the deceasedís cremains, as well as certain mementos or photographs of the deceased and his/her family.  The following guidelines would be applicable in these situations:



Only fresh cut flowers and planters may be used in the sanctuary.  Flowers may be left for use on the altar for Sunday worship services only if the flower calendar is vacant for that Sunday.  Contact the churchís Flower Coordinator for more information.  Other flower arrangements may be left for placement other than on the altar.


Closed Casket

All caskets must be closed for the burial service, but may be open during the viewing (or preceding the viewing, for the family only), if desired.  When closed, the church' funeral pall covers the casket (see below).  The casket remains closed throughout the service.  When the service is in a funeral parlor or private house, the casket is closed and in place before the liturgy begins.  The funeral director shall be instructed concerning such matters as timing, closed caskets, music, flowers, etc.

 The coffin is to be placed in the position with the feet toward the altar. The position reflects the accustomed role of the deceased in the church -- facing the altar as part of the congregation. The paschal candle, which symbolizes Christís triumph over the powers of death, is lit and placed near the casket as a reminder of the deceasedís baptism into Christ.



Use of Pall

The congregation will provide a funeral pall to be placed over the casket during the service. The pall recalls the white robe given in Baptism, the robe of Christ's righteousness. The pall further has democratizing value, for it prevents both the display of a costly casket and embarrassment at a simple one. This action of placing the pall over the casket will take place prior to the liturgy.  The pall will be the only thing covering the casket while in the church building.



Under normal conditions, the church does not provide a nursery for funeral services.


Parking / Traffic Assistance

Parking assistance is generally provided by the funeral home.  The church does not have any resources to assist in traffic control on city streets or highways.


Family Fellowship Meal

When available, the church will do everything possible to accommodate requests for a family fellowship meal following a funeral service.  The Women of Zion will prepare the meal.  Family members will be given contact information.  If the family wishes to provides its own food, the Fellowship Hall may be used with prior approval.

Those requesting a funeral luncheon may choose from either a hot or cold buffet, as follows.  The family will be responsible for the cost of those items indicated with an asterisk (*). 


HOT BUFFET                                                



Please note: No fee is charged for any items other than those outlined above, nor is there any cost for preparation and serving;  however, free will donations are accepted.  The Women of Zion provide this service as a ministry in the spirit of Christian love.  Their mission is to serve all people willingly and pleasingly, inspired and led by God.



If bulletins are to be given out during the service, they will be prepared by the church secretary.


Memorials / Trust Funds

In certain circumstances, the family might request a trust fund or contribution to a charitable organization in lieu of flowers.  These arrangements must be made with an organization outside the church.  The church will not manage, receive or distribute designated funds for an outside institution. 

Undesignated funds and funds designated for an established project at Zion will be received by the church as part of the Memorial Fund.  Funds designated for a project or ministry not previously established will be designated for such only with approval by the Congregation Council.




If the deceased or a member of their immediate family (parent, step-parent, child, step-child or spouse) is a member of Zion, there is no fee for the use of the facilities.  For all other individuals, additional fees may be assessed.  Those who have been members of Zion but now are considered inactive members will pay non-member fees.  Fees are payable (by cash or check made payable to ďZion Lutheran ChurchĒ) on the day of the funeral.  Normally, fees for the pastor and organist are paid through the funeral director.


The following fees apply:

  Member Non-Member
Use of Church No fee   $100
Pastor Honorarium Honorarium
    Service $125 $125
    Work with Soloist $35 additional per soloist $35 additional per soloist
Sexton $50 (upstairs only) $50 (upstairs only)
  $100 (upstairs and Fellowship Hall) $100 (upstairs and Fellowship Hall)
Sound System Operator $10 $10
Use of Fellowship Hall   $100