Methodist Funeral Service Rituals

Methodist Funeral CustomsIn 18th century England, an Anglican priest named John Wesley led a group that became known as “Methodists.” Their beliefs focused on overcoming sin by following the Holy Spirit and empowering God to lead them. Wesley never started his own church, but in 1784, the Methodist church was founded in Baltimore, Maryland.

In the US, the movement spread under the leadership of Laurence Coughlan, who began preaching in Newfoundland in 1766. Missionary programs spread the faith abroad. Today, there are about 125 Methodist denominations worldwide, including 23 in the U.S.

Methodists believe that life is eternal and that one can look forward to life with God after death, although they hold diverse beliefs about the afterlife. They regard the funeral service as an opportunity to express their grief, celebrate the life of the deceased, and affirm their faith.

A Methodist funeral may occur at a church, funeral home, family home, cemetery chapel, or gravesite. The service will typically include readings, hymns, a sermon, and a eulogy. A pastor leads the congregation in prayer. Readings can come from a variety of sources, among them the Bible.

Methodist Quick Reference Guide
Length of Service Depends
Flowers? Yes (See our Sympathy Flowers)
Food? Yes
Dress Code? (Men/Women) Dark & Somber / Men: Jacket & Tie
Recording Devices? No
Source of Readings? Depends
Open Casket? Usually
Return to Work? (Days) Depends
No. of Days to Mourn? Depends
Embalming?  Accepted
Cremation?  Accepted
Body/Organ Donation?  Accepted

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