Funeral and Memorial Ministry

I am available to conduct non-denominational Christian funerals. I draw on some of the prayers from The Book of Common Prayer to bring dignity and significance in a comfortable way incorporating a personalized flavor gained from talking with the family before the service in person or on the phone. The service typically runs 20-40 minutes depending on how much music and sharing of remembrances the family desires. I offer the hope of the Christian in a way that comforts and encourages the family and friends without judgment, even in cases of tragic deaths. 

Contact me at 214-793-5224 or Scroll down to see my ministry experience and educational background.

Typical Order of Service

Call to Worship
Opening Prayer
Reminiscence (may be friend or family member or by the pastor)
Prayer of Illumination and Scripture Reading
Psalm 23 (unison if family wishes)
Memorial Prayer and Lord’s Prayer (unison if family wishes)
Benediction and Ascription

*Music is not required, but hymns, solos, organ, recordings, etc. fit well in any of these spots.

Suggested Hymns for Funerals

Appropriate music for funerals help families and friends express emotions and faith with eloquence. If many of those gathered share a church background in which they are familiar with the selected hymns, singing together can be both inspiring and comforting. However, if most who are expected at a funeral do not have a common musical vocabulary, recorded or instrumental music may be more helpful. The funeral director or the pastor can help with appropriate selections.
A favorite hymn of the deceased or one that has been meaningful to the family may be more comforting than typical funeral hymns. Sometimes a secular song has been especially important to the deceased and may be appropriate in the service, but be cautious about selections that may be jarring in that context. The funeral director or pastor can help determine what may be appropriate.
Sometimes a family wants to use a favorite hymn that is sentimental. Generally, putting that early is the service is helpful, so something expressing confidence and faith concludes the service. Many Christian traditions have a wide variety of appropriate hymns, but the family may not feel up to making a selection. This is a list of hymns from which selections can be made confidently, though it is by no means comprehensive. Many others are possible.

Abide with Me
Be Still My Soul
For All the Saints
In the Bulb there is a Flower
It Is Well with My Soul
Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
Near to the Heart of God
O God Our Help in Ages Past
O Love that Will Not Let Me Go
On Eagle’s Wings
Thine Is the Glory

Suggested Scripture Readings for Funerals

The choice of Scripture readings for a funeral is a significant contribution to the tone and content of the service. If the family knows that the deceased had a favorite passage or they know one that connects with the life of the deceased, selecting it can add something meaningful that a traditional funeral passage may not. Sometimes a particular scripture has come to have special significance during their loved one’s final days, which can add a personal touch to the service. Often, however, families do not know what to select or do not feel adequately familiar with the Bible to make an appropriate selection.
I suggest the following passages to choose from, usually taking one from the Old Testament, one from a New Testament Epistle, and one from one of the Gospels. In my meditation, I will weave together what the family has shared with me about the deceased and the scripture readings they have selected.

Job 19:23-27
“O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book! 24O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock forever! 25For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; 26and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, 27whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!”

Psalm 90
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.” 4For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night. 5You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning; 6in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. 7For we are consumed by your anger; by your wrath we are overwhelmed. 8You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance. 9For all our days pass away under your wrath; our years come to an end like a sigh. 10The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 11Who considers the power of your anger? Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. 12So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. 13Turn, O LORD! How long? Have compassion on your servants! 14Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 15Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil. 16Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. 17Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands— O prosper the work of our hands!

Isaiah 40:1-8
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. 2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the LORD’S hand double for all her sins. 3A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 6A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. 7The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. 8The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.

Romans 8:31-39
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written,
    “For your sake we are being killed all day long;
    we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:51-57
Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 21:1-4
I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
    “See, the home of God is among mortals.
    He will dwell with them;
    they will be his peoples,
    and God himself will be with them;
4    he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
    Death will be no more;
    mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
    for the first things have passed away.”

Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

John 11:17-27
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
John 14:1-6,27
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 
27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
 John 20:11-18
Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Pastoral Career History

January 2016 – March 2016
First Christian Church of Albany, Texas: Interim Pastor

September 2014 – May 2015
Highlands Christian Church of Dallas, Texas: Interim Pastor

June 2013 – August 2014
First Christian Church of Odessa, Texas: Interim Pastor

August 2012 – June 2013
First Christian Church of Midwest City, Oklahoma: Interim Pastor

September 2011- August 2012
First Christian Church of Duncanville, Texas: Interim Pastor

July 2000 – May 2011
Central Christian Church of Dallas, Texas: Pastor

November 1999 – June 2000
Pilot Project in Community Chaplaincy Hosted by Shoreland Community Church, Brown Deer, Wisconsin

August 1997- August 1999
MorningStar Christian Church of Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Pastor

July 1980 – August 1997
First Presbyterian Church of Mount Holly, New Jersey: Minister of Nurture

July 1974 –March 1997
Countryside Chapel of Glendale Heights, Illinois: Assistant Pastor for Christian Education and Family Ministry (part-time)


2004 Certificate in Spiritual Formation, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia

August 1972 Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, Illinois: MA in Christian Education

June 1969 Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota: BA in English

September 1964–January 1967 Merritt College, Oakland, California

Ordained June 8, 1975, recognized by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest, September 17, 2002

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