The Church of God in Christ is part of the Pentecostal or holiness denominations in the Christian religion. In some cases a funeral service may be delayed several days in order for family members and close friends to travel if they live far away. The immediate family members as well as the extended family members of the deceased usually gather together in the home.
The church community is very involved in providing for the needs of the family after a loved one has passed. A volunteer from a women’s group within the church often stays at the home in order to receive visitors and take phone calls. This gives the family a chance to see to funeral arrangements.
It is also common for members of the church to come to the home and help with cleaning and other chores. Meals are accepted and may be coordinated by a group within the church. Flowers are also appreciated.
The wake is usually scheduled for about three hours, and a private time before the wake is reserved for private family time. Friends and colleagues come to the wake to express their support to the family and share words of comfort. After speaking with the family visitors may linger and talk quietly with others in attendance.
A funeral service, also referred to as a homegoing celebration, is held the next day at the church. Services are led by the church’s pastor and include readings from the Bible. The service will typically last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, and it includes a time for people to speak and share fond memories as well as music and a sermon.
Following the service, the casket will be opened for family and friends to say their final goodbyes to the deceased, and visitors follow the family in procession to the cemetery. At the cemetery, a short reading and prayer end the service. After that, a luncheon coordinated by the women’s group is often served for family and friends at the church.