Baptist Funeral Service Rituals

Baptist Funeral CustomsAs a Christian religion, Baptists follow the Christian Bible, believe in the afterlife, and strive to attain a place in Heaven. They believe that Jesus was the Son of God and came to earth to teach through his actions and lessons.

The religion was founded in England in the 17th century by John Smyth. Many of his followers left England seeking religious freedom. Today, there are many branches of the Baptist faith, but most fall into one of two groups: the General and the Particular. General Baptists believe Christ’s death was to redeem all people, while Particular Baptists think only believers are saved.

The two largest denominations are the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Baptist Convention. Likewise, there are two schools of thought regarding the afterlife. One belief is that one immediately enters Paradise after death.

Another belief is that the dead will arise with Jesus’ Second Coming. At the ceremony, guests of all faiths are invited to participate. However, if Communion is offered, non-Baptists generally do not participate. Since practices vary by region, take cues from the group or ask a pastor before the service begins.

Baptist funeral customs focus on the religious and spiritual elements of a person’s life. The actual approach to the funeral event will vary depending on the particular community. For some, the funeral is a joyous celebration, for others, the event is more solemn. Eulogies often focus on family and faith. Spiritual music is customary and may include contemporary religious selections as well as hymns. A viewing is customary and may include the commemoration of the deceased secular activities such as participation in community or fraternal organizations.

Funeral practices vary between congregations. Ceremonies may also reflect customs and traditions specific to a geographic location or community. To verify the practices of a particular congregation, consult with a clergy member.

Baptist Funeral Customs Quick Reference Guide
Length of Service 30 – 60 minutes
Flowers? Yes (See our Sympathy Flowers)
Food? Yes
Dress Code? (Men/Women) Dark & Conservative
Recording Devices? No
Source of Readings? Bible
Open Casket? Usually
Return to Work? (Days) 7
No. of Days to Mourn? 60
Embalming? Permitted
Cremation? Permitted
Body/Organ Donation? Accepted

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