In Times of Remembrance
Wilshire is honored to be a part of your memorial remembrance for a loved one. To help you in planning, here are some general guidelines you’ll want to know in advance about how we typically handle funerals and memorial services. Please know that different churches handle such services differently, based on their own cultures and facilities, and what may be common in some settings would not be considered appropriate in other settings.
Our goal is to help families celebrate the lives of their loved ones in a worshipful setting that balances acknowledgement that a loss has occurred with the hope of resurrection for all who call upon Jesus Christ as Lord. So while the funeral or memorial service should include a celebration of a life well lived, it mustn’t ignore the fact that death represents a loss for all who are left behind. Most importantly, we want to help families plan services that are worshipful and acknowledge God as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
Wilshire offers two primary spaces for funerals and memorial services. McIver Chapel is the most commonly used space for such services. This provides a more intimate setting for up to 150 people. The Chapel includes a grand piano and a small organ and offers ample room for caskets, flowers and other needs. The Sanctuary seats more than 800 people, and it is best used for services of more than 150 in attendance, so that the room doesn’t look empty. The Sanctuary includes a grand piano and pipe organ and ample space for all requirements of funeral services. There is no fee for use of worship spaces for funerals or memorial services.
Because funerals and memorial services are worship services, we ask that families consult with officiating minister or the pastor’s administrative assistant about the appropriateness of any musical selections that might be questionable. Sacred music is preferred rather than “pop” music that does not convey a religious meaning. Also, as with Wilshire’s weekly worship pattern, recorded music and accompaniment tracks are not permitted. All music should be performed live. Wilshire offers a wide array of talented musicians who are available to help. Wilshire’s organist (or his designee) will be available for all funerals and memorial services and may be consulted for musical selections.
Wilshire’s ministers are available to help with all aspects of your service. Our recommendation is to use one of our staff ministers (not only the senior pastor, but also the associate pastor, the minister for care ministries, the pastoral residents and other staff ministers) as the officiant unless impractical to do so. Outside speakers are best used as eulogists, soloists, Scripture readers and prayers. There is no set fee for the services of a Wilshire minister at a funeral or memorial service. Typically, the family will provide an honorarium to the officiating minister and the graveside minister.
Logistical support for service
- The administrative assistant to the senior pastor will help with certain arrangements and logistics of the service. She will help you know how to arrange for flower deliveries and receptions and other detailed matters.
- Often, families like to have a meal at the church before or after the service. Our Bereavement Ministry Team is on call to assist with family meals. Other times, the family prefers to have a reception after the service to greet friends. Common spaces for both types of functions are the Parlor and James Gallery.
- Wilshire will provide a printed order of service at no cost if the family desires to have one. Typically, these printed pieces include a photo of the deceased on the front cover. The family should provide the photo to be used.
- Wilshire does not use projection screens in either the Sanctuary or McIver Chapel and does not allow the introduction of screens for funerals or memorial services. This is a non-negotiable policy. However, families desiring to present slide shows of the life of the deceased are encouraged to do so at a reception after the service. It is appropriate to use projection screens in reception areas.
- Likewise, some families choose to display portraits or framed photos of the deceased in the service. These still photo displays work well on the Lord’s Supper table in the Sanctuary or a long table available in McIver Chapel. Easels also are available for displaying larger framed photos.
When a casket burial is involved, the officiating minister will be available to preside at the graveside. Typically, a committal service is brief, when a separate funeral or memorial service is held at the church. If the graveside service is the only service held, it may be a longer service than a typical committal service. When making arrangements for the day, families are strongly encouraged to consider having the burial before the memorial service rather than after. This is, of course, a matter of choice for each family. However, our experience shows that the burial is the hardest part of the day emotionally, and doing that difficult task before the service makes the memorial service a celebration of life. Also, not having to rush off to the cemetery allows the family to greet friends after the service.
The Columbarium at Wilshire is available for those who have been cremated. This beautiful garden space on the east side of the church property provides easy access from McIver Chapel. In some cases, it is possible to move from the Chapel to the Columbarium for a graveside inurnment and then return to the Parlor for a reception. The officiating minister or the pastor’s assistant can provide more information about these arrangements. See the separate brochure about the Columbarium for qualifications and pricing.