Christian Scientist Funeral Service Rituals

Christian Scientist Funeral Customs

Christian Science Monitor Plaza in Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts

In 1866, Mary Eddy recovered from an injury while reading a bible account of Jesus’ healing power. Later she founded what is now the Christian Science Church.

Mary Eddy’s followers believe that sin, disease, and death are not of God because He epitomizes all that is good. Instead, they believe suffering, both emotional and physical, to be a distortion of the mind. Grounded in these teachings, Christian Scientists rely on spiritual healing.

Christian Scientists do not have special funeral rituals and they do not hold their funeral inside Christian Science churches. To acknowledge a death, they gather in the home of the deceased or in a funeral home or crematorium. There, a Christian Scientist practitioner, one who has demonstrated a consistent ability to heal, conducts the service.

There are no specific ceremonies, but the group may hear readings from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and the King James Bible. Overall, funeral and burial rites depend on the wishes of the family.

The use of embalming is entirely up to the individual. The church does not offer any advice to either encourage or discourage the practice. Cremation, in-ground burial, and entombment are all permissible.

Christian Scientist Quick Reference Guide
Length of ServiceDepends
Flowers?Yes (See our Sympathy Flowers)
Food?Yes
Dress Code? (Men/Women)No rules, but darker colors preferred
Recording Devices?No
Source of Readings?Varied
Open Casket?Rarely
Return to Work? (Days)Depends
No. of Days to Mourn?Depends
Embalming?Up to the individual.
Cremation?Permitted
Body/Organ Donation?Up to the individual.

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