Universal Life Church Funeral Ceremonies and Sermons
Welcome to the funeral ceremonies section of the Universal Life Church Seminary website. We add funeral sermons here whenever possible, when people like you share your ceremonies with us. Several of the things here are poetry. It's always good to have a special poem to read during a funeral.
If you have any funeral information you'd like to share with other ULC ministers, please email them to me at Seminary. I'll get them posted as soon as possible.
If you are in need of a funeral ceremony immediately, we do have them available at the store and these can be emailed to you right away.
Wedding Words - Here are a collection of ceremonies for those preparing to do a wedding. We also have two books available through the church store. One is the yellow book shown above and the others are the two volumes of Weddings, Funerals and Rites of Passage.
Funeral Training : If you've never performed a funeral and are nervous about the particulars of performing one, this training section will help you with the basics of doing the ceremony, as well as some hints and tips to make the event go smoothly.
Pagan Ceremonies - Pagans of all types, especially Wiccans have a variety of different types of ceremonies and there are many of them posted here for your use. If you would like to share some ceremonies, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be delighted to post yours.
Other Ceremonies - There are many types of ceremonies that people do for a variety of reasons. This page has a selection of ceremonies of unusual and interesting kinds. You may find some useful words to use and you are welcome to submit your own ceremony to be added here.
MUSIC on entry: Instrumental "Blue Danube" (play from the start please andcontinue it at the end of the ceremony as well).
Welcome. Before we begin I would like to announce that the family invitesyou to join them for refreshment straight after the ceremony. And, it wouldbe appreciated if you would please turn your mobiles phones off at thistime. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, my name is __________, and I am a civilcelebrant. On behalf of the family of _________ and _________Funeral Home, I thank everyone for coming to share and honor the memory of"______", as the family knew him, in this ceremony today.
Here's a sentence from the epilogue in Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and I
"Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Spirits to enforce, Art to enchant."
______ , you have enchanted us with your art. In life, you observed on thefringes...but in art you were set free soaring high above mediocrity.
His work was exhibited at many art shows including the prestigious HeraldOutdoor Art Show which is an annual event here in the beautiful city ofMelbourne. The former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies acquired his workand commercial design firms populated his nautical motifs.
______ expressed his creative soul, his inner emotional self through hisworks. And with that, he leaves behind a legacy of children, their childrenand their children's children - with art and music evident in their lineageand heritage.
I would like to share with you now, on a personal note if I may, that I wasdeeply moved and felt a part of very special place as his family invited meto "really" look at their Father's work on display everywhere on most everywall in the house. Here was a prolific man who could miraculously paint onhuge, huge canvases. As we stepped out into the lovely garden that _____created years before, now in full bloom on an early summers day ~ strangely,the burst of pinks and oranges would pale in comparison to ______'s expressionand celebration of nature. He certainly brought the outside in. Trulyfantastic. Thank you for allowing me this honor.
(Hold up or point to the painted tray or ______'s painting.)
What kind of man was ______?
His daughters describe him as complex, private, deeply human, difficult,argumentative and shy. Some would say and many thought he was pompous andarrogant. A man who chose the safety of social isolation.
It may have appeared that he was not interested in the rest of humanity andyet the same man worked hard in a committed way to provide for his familyand expressed sentimentality in a way that disarmed them...keeping cards,letters and treasured photographs of his extended family. That was ______. Yousee, he was in his quiet, unemotional way - proud of all of you.
Indeed an extension of the pride he felt in everything that he was...and allthat he did.
It is true that he remained aloof and yet like many of us that search withinner longing to connect with the world...he did the best he could.
Music befriended him. He returned to playing the organ until his hardworking hands were assailed by arthritis making it impossible to play.
The end came at time of his own choosing in his home that was his sanctuary.
The peace that had so long eluded him was now destined to be his.
It is appropriate now to pause for a moment. Those who are believers mightlike to pray others might choose to reflect on his life and the meaning itholds for you. During this time the family has chosen a special song for youto listen to that ______ very much enjoyed..."Ik Hou Van Holland" whichtranslated means "My beloved Holland".
MUSIC: "Ik Hou Van Holland"
Our thoughts are with the family, _________, family friends andeveryone who came to know and care for this man...we extend to you ourdeepest sympathy.
(Turn to ______'s coffin and say:)
And so we surround ______' spirit with love and light.
The direct family will say there private farewell to ______ later, therefore Iwill say the words of committal at this time. l
Tenderly and with honor and appreciation we remember the life of ______.
He is now beyond harm, fear and pain; and here...in this lastrite...we commit his body to the elements.
______ loved to intricately paint ships making their tumultuous way on thewide open sea. The color blue in every hue abounds. His soul was that ofthe quintessential adventurer. I give you this reading and ask you to closeyour eyes and picture for a moment, ______ on the shores of his studio,silent and totally immersed in his world of art...painting.
A reading from Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Break, break, break
On thy cold Gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me
And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
And the sounds of a voice that is still.
I urge you that in ______' name before sunset on this day that youreconcile with someone in your life, reach out, ring them up or write them aletter. Go ahead...Create anew! and in this way ______ lives on with hiseverlasting brushstroke on your life's canvas.
(Turn to ______'s coffin and say:)
Thank you for all that you were, all that you gave usas we say to you nowlove and light on this your journey.
Thank you ladies and Gentleman, this concludes the ceremony honoring ______'slife. Please stay and join the family for refreshments.
Funeral Prayer #6 Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we can possibly go through. And grieving is nothing but a normal reaction to this. But we have to take care of some important matters like funeral arrangements. And we have to prepare for the eulogy speech, probably the most important and last favor we can give to our lost loved ones. You could use this as a guide in creating a eulogy for your beloved mother.
Start off with a personal situation you and your mother shared together. Maybe you have one special memory of her that stayed in your mind or a recent activity you did together. Share something about that experience; tell people what makes you remember that moment and what made it very significant to you and what impact it has on your life now. You can also describe how you felt and how you remember her during those moments.
Then you could talk about your mother’s character, how other people saw her compared to who she actually was. Share what kind of a person she was, as a mother to you and as a friend. Tell the people how she was at her best, how you saw her when you were still with her. You could also share every sacrifice she made and all the help she gave you to get you where you are today. Share all the good things you can remember that she did for you and other people. Try also to remember all her achievements and passions. Try to share all her favorite things and her mannerisms.
You can end your speech by sharing things that make you thankful for having had a mother like her. You could also share your last moments with her; what you talked about and what she asked you to do. Share the things that you would like to continue on her behalf, and thank all the people who together with your family shared your grief and have offered a helping hand to help you get through this sad moment.
Writing a eulogy could help you ease your pain if not get over the grief you’re feeling. Losing somebody is never easy; and it is only harder when losing our mother. Sharing what you feel and being able to let people know who your beloved mother really was will be one of the best last gifts you can give her.
The essence of writing a eulogy for grandfather is to keep his memories alive and to make his legacy memorable, especially for those who know him well. A grandfather is someone who stands as the pillar of wisdom and strength in any family. For those who grew up with their grandfather, writing a eulogy for him may be something emotionally challenging.
The best way that you can start a eulogy for grandfather is to recall the memories you shared with him. Think about the special moments you had together or simply the everyday recollections that you have with your grandfather. Relate these with your audience and share with them the wisdom and lessons that your grandfather imparted to you. Make a picture of your grandfather as you know him. Express your love when delivering your funeral speech for him.
To help you, here is a short sample eulogy for grandfather:
"It was my grandfather who would always go with me to Sunday school. When I was a young kid, he wouldn’t read me tales about prince and princesses but he would read to me the stories of Noah and other heroes of the Bible. It was my grandfather who kept me strong when my dad died when I was eleven. Then on, he became my second father and loved me dearly everyday of my life. Today, as I stand before his funeral, I am not miserable or sad. I am happy that I have (his name) for a grandfather. Who I am and what you see today was a product of his love and hard work. He is a man of practical wisdom. Once, I remember him say to me …" (start relating memories and experiences with your grandfather here).
You can end your eulogy with one of your grandfather's favorite bible verse or a personal poem you made for him.
The Traditional Irish Wake Universal Life Church The term “wake” is interesting. Usually, when we “wake,” it’s morning, and we’re ready to start the day, but used in this context, it means to keep a vigil over the dead the night before the burial. It’s synonymous with the term “viewing” used in the modern funeral parlor industry. The wake is that period of time from death until the body is transported to the church for the funeral rites.
In the not-too-distant past, (and even today among some true die-hards, no pun intended) the Irish wake was generally held in the family home. The elder women of the neighborhood would arrive to wash, dress, and lay out the body. The body would be washed and dressed in a shroud or the best outfit. The deceased’s rosary was placed in the hands and a crucifix was placed at the head or on the breast. The body was laid on the bed, board, or table and a candle was lit.
People would come from near and far, and even though there were few telephones (Imagine that, if you can!) the “Irish telegraph,” was extremely efficient, and the news traveled very fast over long distances. This, of course, was in a time before television kept people at home. Before the TV took over, the Irish were extremely social, and visited each other often, just a short visit with not even a cup of tea taken, but with all the necessary news spread.
When the people come into the house they kneel by the body and say a prayer. Close relatives kiss the cheek of the deceased. Then the visitors greet the family and offer some comforting words. This part of the wake is very solemn and respectful.
The women, and sometimes some of the men, keen at the wake. Keening is a form of wailing that is interspersed with endearments, usually in Gaelic, addressed to the deceased. Keening is most intense if the wake is for a child. Keening is not like any other kind of crying. It is very difficult for me to describe. It’s loud and goes on for a long time. When one keener loses volume, another takes up the cant.
In the past, there was always snuff and tobacco, tea, food, and spirits (of the drinking kind), offered to all who attended the wake. Few people “take snuff” anymore, and tobacco, even the fragrant kind used in pipes, is falling out of favor, but they were definitely an important feature at wakes, as important as the tea, food, and spirits. The eldest boy in the house or the son of a close neighbor was given the honor of cutting the tobacco and filling the pipes.
The mourners move on to another part of the house to congregate, eat, drink, and talk. Even the most sorrowful mourner is inspired to raise a glass and remember the happiest of times in the life of the person who has passed. The company stays until late in the night with the recitation of the Rosary as the signal that the evening is over.
After the funeral, all the friends and relations drop by the house and partake of the vast quantities of food and drink that have appeared, as if by magic, into the house. Often, the family will arrive home and find that the house has been cleaned from top to bottom and every surface of the kitchen and beyond is weighed down with the best of food and drink. This is where the “Irish wake” stereotype comes from. The people gathered remember the life of the deceased, and the taller the story the better. A stranger would think there was a real hoolie going on, and in a sense there is: it’s a way to celebrate the life departed. There may be tears, but there’s plenty of laughter as well, as all the funny stories, happy times, and triumphs of the dead are shared and recorded in the memories of the living.
The tradition of the Irish wake is changing. Most people aren’t waked from home. A funeral parlor takes care of the arrangements. But still, the formula remains. People come from near and far to share the sorrow of those who are left behind, to celebrate the life of the departed, and faith in the life ahead.
"Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!"
Henry Scott Holland,Professor of Divinity, Oxford,1847-1918. *******************************
performed by her step-son Rev. William C. Sanders, Minister ULC.
Friends, I welcome you today to a service of celebration as we reflect upon the life of Beth Galloway Sanders. We remember her as a kind and spiritual friend who loved and lived for Jesus Christ and for making others smile with faces full of joy. To my father, she was a loving wife and shared with him her beautiful spirit, kindness, and deepest love. others knew her as a loving family member and friend always ready and willing to show her love for us all. often for no other reason but to see us smile, and because quite simply that's just the way she liked it.
Beth shared her heart and love with each of us in her own unique way. We all new beth in different ways but we all new her as a kind, giving and special person. We will all take with us our memories of Beth as it is her way of living on in our lives.
in Rev. 22 , the Lord speaks to us " I am the alpha and the Omega" "The beginning and the end". As we are born into a life with christ and he is there to accept us at the beginning, so to is christ there to accept us at the end of our lives and to lead us on to an eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. we have lost a dear friend, wife, and family member who will be truly missed, but let us remain joyful and find comfort in knowing that she has left us safely in the arms of her Lord Jesus Christ whom she loved so much, and through whom she became the loving Beth that we all knew.
Let us pray : Lord we give unto you our hearts and pray for your healing grace in our lives.we pray for the spirit of our loved one whom has passed on to your care. we thank you for the gift of having your faithful servant in our lives, as we ask for strength and comfort for the things which we do not understand. this we pray...Amen
Rev. William C. Sanders "Pastor Will" San Antonio, TX
You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor. Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling? For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
On behalf of _______'s family I would like to thank you all for attending this service of respect and dedication for their beloved, _______. This ceremony of love and respect for their beloved _______.
Death in a number of ways unites us all, and _______'s death for a time demands that each one of us put aside our toil, our cares and pleasures to unite ourselves with everyone here, mourners all who share in the common bond of love and friendship for _______.
With our last thoughts and respect for _______, I think it is fitting that we should reflect on _______'s time with us and the influence he had in your lives.
_______ was born the ____ child of __ children to parent's _______ on _______, in _____ Hospital. He was educated at ______ elementary school and then at ______ High School. _______ enjoyed the friendship of many school mates and his love for sport such as _____ and particularly, ______.
Life was never dull with _______ around, his family recalls their times with laughter with love for _______. This was very special as _______ was known always to be the life and soul of any gatherings of family and friends. Above all _______ was a loving, caring family man. _______ recalls him busy ______ just when food was on the table and how much he enjoyed being outside in the garden. At Christmas, when he cut the traditional roast, often eating more than he was cutting.
_______'s mother, Jean remembers the time when _______ decided to fly his kite off the family house rooftop, along with himself!!!
_______'s father, _____ recalls the time that _______ loved riding his little trike and how he once rode it …………….
I would like to read a poem that is written by _______'s father of his love for his son.
The joy of his birth filled our hearts with joy. We named him _______, his smile, his cheeky face, unfolded like satin lace. My heart is heavy now, the sorrow the grief will grow. I lost my son, his smile and cheek. God only takes the best, my love, my memories will never cease.
I am happy I was chosen, to be your Dad, I will never let you go, my son _______.
_______'s friends will always remember him as a fun loving guy, who loved _________ and his always forever-willing ways.
This tragic end to someone so full of life is sad, because we grieve most for the passing of the young. This very grief is a token that death cannot take from us, the most precious of treasures namely LOVE. It is the tear of love that flows the fullest. The pain of love that aches the deepest. The thoughts of love that move most actively. The intense feeling of loves that grieves for one so young. That nature it 'self is teaching us to keep hold of something, something that is truly worth keeping. For of all the memories, the memory of the young moves us more deeply than any other memories.
You may like to take a few moments before we say farewell to _______, please think of him as you remember him, the loving person he truly was, and also his influence he made on your life, whilst we listen to one of his favorite song's.
To _______'s parents, ________, his wife ______ and his children ______ and _______ and all the close family we offer our deepest sympathy and thank you most sincerely, for your love and support at such a tragic time of their lives.
Funeral Prayer #5 The Tempest, III, iv We are such stuff as dreams are made on ... William Shakespeare
Our revels are now ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air; And like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve And like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded in a sleep.