St. John’s Episcopal Church
207 Albany Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401

Funeral Planning

‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ – Matthew 5:21

The death of a loved one, whether suddenly and unexpectedly, after a long-term illness, or having lived a natural life span is a traumatic time in the lives of those left behind. While still grieving, families and loved ones are called on to make decisions with little time to prepare.

The document below is designed to facilitate the planning of a funeral during a very difficult time, and establish guidelines and policies designed to make it easier for family and friends to prepare for the funeral and interment of their loved one. There are provisions in the Book of Common Prayer for the appropriate readings, psalms, and hymns for a funeral service. Please choose those which will make this service the right one for the departed and a fitting memorial in the hearts and minds of those who mourn.

Click here to download the Funeral Planning Guide.

We at St. John’s stand ready to assist you in making decisions for a beautiful and meaningful service. With that in mind, all arrangements for the funeral should be made in consultation with the officiating priest.


Making Prior Arrangement for Funerals
Parishioners are encouraged to leave funeral requests on file with the parish office. This form may be used for that purpose. Leaving such plans makes it easier for families to plan appropriately at the time of death. The following information may be useful to the family in making plans.

It is important to give people a chance to offer sympathy to the family and to share with each other at the time of death. Opportunities for visitation may include: A specified time for family to receive friends at home or a restaurant prior to or after the service; immediately before or after the service at the church; visiting hours at the funeral home.

For members of St. John’s, we offer this service at no cost. We will gratefully receive a donation to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund. Please discuss with the priest if you have questions.

If you choose to ask the St. John’s organist to play, his fee is $175 with the check made out directly to him. He will encourage members of the St. John’s choir to help lead those who are gathered song. If there are additional musicians, please notify the organist.

Public Services
The principal service may be held immediately before the interment of the body or the ashes, or at time after interment. It should be scheduled at such a time (before or after the committal) that people who may wish to attend can be present. The following guidelines should be observed:

  • The coffin is to be closed before the service, and it remains closed thereafter. It is appropriate that it be covered with a pall. When there are ashes, the urn is covered in a similar way. If the person is to be interred in the St. John’s Columbarium, we have a niche urn that will be used during the service.
  • Flowers arrangements and/or photos/decorations should be discussed with the presiding clergy person.
  • Hymns selected should be general hymns of faith, hymns related to the readings, Easter or All Saints’ hymns, or those appointed in the Hymnal for burial. A list of suitable hymns is attached. If there is a special musical request, please discuss with the presiding clergy person.
  • A celebration of the Eucharist is appropriate as an expression of the union of the living and the departed in Christ in the communion of saints. All who feel God’s call are welcome at the altar for communion.
  • Family and friends are encouraged to take an active part in the service. At this emotional time, care should be taken about choosing close relatives to read or to offer a eulogy. Family members may also bring up the gifts for Communion. Please speak with the presiding clergy person.