Working with the Primary Mourners to Plan an Online Memorial Service
Working with the Primary Mourners to Plan an Online Memorial Service
Hands of an elder holding a photgraph with the words "in memory"

In order to create a memorial service that is meaningful, you will want to spend "slow time" with those who were closest to the deceased. Your gift of listening is an important part of spiritual care for the bereaved. 

This is a time to listen to stories, to learn important details and to be a listening presence as they do what they need as part of the grieving process. If you've been in contact with the health professionals or others who knew the deceases, collect their stories and anecdotes. Take notes -- both for the online service and for a physical service later.

Some of the details you will want to collect include:

  • Dates of birth and death
  • Names of family and other primary mourners
  • Marriage(s)
  • Theology and/or religious history of the deceased as well as the primary mourners
  • Vocation(s)
  • Places they've lived
  • Other details that made them the unique being that they were
  • Difficulties or Regrets (Acknowledge that the deceased was not perfect)

You will also want to ask if the deceased had favorite songs, poems or hymns that they might want included in the service. Keep these notes for when you plan the physical service in the future.

About the Author

  • Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) has served as a Congregational Life Consultant in the Central East Region since September of 2010. She serves congregation in Northeast Ohio and Western New York. She is part of the LeaderLab Design team providing Leadership Development resources and other trainings to congregations.

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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