At Bellevue Presbyterian Church we offer the opportunity to celebrate the life of a loved one who has died. Through music, eulogy, scripture, remembrances, and the proclamation that this life is not all there is; that we are people of life, living temporarily in the land of the dying, we commemorate the loved one and worship our God who saves us from eternal death unto eternal life.

Guidelines for Preparing a Personal Remembrance (PDF)

Suggested Scriptures for Memorial Services

Old Testament

Job 19:23-27 – “I know that my redeemer lives.”
Isa. 25:6-9 – “God will swallow up death forever.”
Isa. 26:1-4, 19 – “God will keep them in peace.”
Isa. 40:1-11, 28-31 – “Comfort my people.”
Isa. 40:28-31 – “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.”
Isa. 43:1-3a, 18-19, 25 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.”  
Isa. 44:6-8 – “I am the first and the last.”
Isa. 55:1-3, 6-13 – “Ho, everyone who thirsts.”     
Isa. 61:1-4, 10-11 – “The spirit of the Lord is upon me.”
Isa. 65:17-25 – “I create new heavens and a new earth.”
Lam. 3:19-26, 31b-32 – “The Lord’s steadfast love.”     
Dan. 12:1-3 – “Many of those who sleep in the dust shall awake.”
Joel 2:12-13, 23-24, 26-29 – “Return to the Lord with all your heart.”
Zech. 8:1-8 – “Children playing in the streets of the city.”
Isa. 65:17-25 – “I create new heavens and a new earth.”
Lam. 3:1-9, 19-23 – “The Lord’s steadfast love.”

Psalms

Ps. 16:5-11 – “The Lord is my chosen portion.”
Ps. 23 – “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Ps. 27:1, 4-9a, 13-14 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
Ps. 39: 4-5, 12 – “Lord, let me know my end.”
Ps. 42:1-6a – “As a deer longs for flowing streams.”
Ps. 43 – “Give judgment for me, O God.”
Ps. 46:1-5, 10-11 – “A very present help in trouble.”
Ps. 90:1-10, 12 – “Teach us to number our days.”
Ps. 91 – “The one who dwells in the shelter of the Most High.”
Ps. 103 – “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”
Ps. 106:1-5 – “O give thanks to the Lord.”
Ps. 116:1-9, 15 – “The Lord has heard my voice.”
Ps. 118 – “Open the gates of righteousness.”     
Ps. 121 – “I lift up my eyes to the hills.”
Ps. 130 – “Out of the depths I cry to the Lord.” 
Ps. 139:1-12 – “Where shall I go from your spirit?”
Ps. 145 – “I will extol you, O God my King.”
Ps. 146 – “Hallelujah! praise the Lord, O my soul.”

Gospels

Matt. 5:1-12a – “The Beatitudes.”
Matt. 11:25-30 – “Hidden from the wise, revealed to infants.”
Matt. 25:1-13 – “Wise and foolish bridesmaids.”
Matt. 25:31-46 – “The Last Judgment.”
Luke 7:11-17 – “Jesus raises the son of the widow of Nain.”
Luke 18:15-17 – “We enter the kingdom only as children.”
Luke 23:33, 39-43 – “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
John 3:16-21 – “God so loved the world.”
John 5:24-29 – “Whoever hears and believes has eternal life.”
John 6:37-40 – “Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away.”
John 6:47-58 – “Whoever believes in me has eternal life.”
John 11:17-27 – “I am the resurrection and the life.”
John 11:38-44 – “Lazarus raised from the dead.”
John 14:1-6, 25-27 – “Let not your hearts be troubled.”

Epistles

Rom. 5:1-11 – “Hope does not disappoint.”                                            
Rom. 6:3-9 – “Baptized into Christ’s death, raised to live with him.”
Rom. 8:14-23, 31-39 – “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
Rom. 14:7-9, 10b-12 – “Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”
1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20a – “Christ raised from the dead.”
1 Cor. 15:20-24a – “In Christ shall all be made alive.”
1 Cor. 15:20-26, 35-38, 42-44, 50, 53-58 – “Death is swallowed in victory.”
1 Cor. 15:35-44 – “The natural body and the spiritual body.”
1 Cor. 15:50-57 – “We shall all be changed.”
2 Cor. 4:16-5:1 – “Visible things are temporary, invisible things eternal.”
2 Cor. 5:1-10 – “From God we have a house not made with hands.”
Eph. 1:11-2:1, 4-10 – “Saved by grace through faith.”
Phil. 3:7-11 – “Knowing him and the power of his resurrection.”
Phil. 3:20-21 – “Our citizenship is in heaven.”
Col. 3:1-17 – “Set your minds on the things that are above.”
1 Thess. 4:13-18 – “The comfort of Christ’s coming.”   
2 Tim. 2:8-13 – “If we died with him, we shall also live with him.”
Heb. 2:14-18 – “Christ was tested in every way.”
Heb. 11:1-3, 13-16; 12:1-2 – “Faith, the pilgrimage, the cloud of witnesses.”
1 Peter 1:3-9 – “Without seeing Christ, you love him.”
1 Peter 3:18-22; 4:6 – “Christ’s ministry to the spirits in prison.”
1 John 3:1-3 – “We are children of God.”
Rev. 7:2-3, 9-17 – “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation.”
Rev. 14:1-3, 6-7, 12-13 – “Rest for the saints
Rev. 21:1-4, 22-25; 22:3-5 – “A new heaven and a new earth.”
Rev. 22:1-5 – “The Lord God will be their light.”

Planning a Memorial Service

Where should the memorial service be held?

Except for compelling reasons the service for Christians is normally held at BelPres, at a time when the congregation is able to be present. The memorial service is witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is a time for Christians to gather as a community and mourn the death of someone dear to them.

Who should officiate the service?

Services are officiated by one of the BelPres pastors or outside clergy as approved by Rev. Danna VanHorn, Associate Pastor for Caring Ministries. Rev. VanHorn oversees the bereavement ministry at the church.

Do you want a eulogy, and who should deliver it?

This can be delivered by a pastor or by a close friend or loved one. This gives the facts of your loved ones life and is separate from a time for sharing memories. This portion enables those who share later to zero in on one part of your loved one’s life instead of trying to encapsulate it all themselves. (See Preparing a Personal Remembrance)

Would you like people to share memories?

Think of people who will be able to honor the life of your loved one through sharing stories and memories. Ask them to share one experience they had as a means of illuminating a facet of your loved ones life.

Would you like the remains to be present?

This is where the distinction between a funeral and a memorial lies:  whether or not there are remains present. While we have had ashes present, we generally do not have caskets in the service. A separate graveside service is held with the casket. If the ashes are to be interred, a separate service may be held for that as well.

What music should be played?

Music is an important part of the service. It speaks in ways that readings and times of sharing cannot and it gives a space for people to reflect and pray. The music selected may be vocal or instrumental, it just needs to be appropriate for the setting. Feel free to pick a favorite of your loved one and ask the pastor for help placing it in the service. For larger services the use of congregational hymns is appropriate. However, for smaller services it is best to have a soloist perform the songs.

What readings would you like to have read?

The use of Scripture is central to the memorial service. The scriptures selected may be ones that were special to the one being remembered or ones that the pastor suggests. It is a good idea for the family to pick a few to discuss with the pastor.

Is there a special poem you would like shared with the guests?

There may be a reading or poem that was important to the person being remembered. With the pastors approval these may be included in the bulletin or read in the service; this would be determined when the family meets with the pastor to plan the service.

Are there any special photographs or other memorabilia you would like displayed?

Generally, there is a table in the Lobby displaying photos and other items that were representative of the person’s life. They may reflect a particular hobby, career or other passion as well special memories with family and friends. Whether or not this is done is up to the family but is something they should consider as it gives those who are attending a full scope of the person’s life.

Would you like a reception held after the service?

Generally, there is a light reception hosted by the church after the service. This consists of  cookies, brownies and nuts with coffee, tea and punch. If the family wishes to have a larger reception they should look at reserving a space elsewhere to have it catered.

What will occur when the family meets with the Pastor at the church?

The pastor will meet with the family and go through many of the same questions above as a means of gathering information to put together the memorial service. They will offer their own suggestions based on their theological training and experience as a means of guiding the family. By the end of this meeting the service will be planned and the church staff will then work to prepare for the service.

After the Pastor has met with the family, the Memorial Coordinator will then step in to cover the details of the service. Their job is to work with the family to talk through the selection of soloists, accompanists, a sound technician. In addition they will help the family select the bulletins, and discuss flowers and the guestbook.

Jean Sleight

Administrative Assistant

Contact the Jean Sleight in the Church Office for more information and availability of pastors and particular dates.