Bereavement Committee: A Quiet and Important Ministry
As evidenced by our Lord's frequent use of the meal as a location of teaching and transformation, dining is a big part of the Christian life. The Women of St. Christopher and other supporting parish family members offer their skills at hospitality and food preparation to provide small receptions following funerals.
Bereavement Committee Ministers
St. Christopher has provided refreshment following funeral and memorial services for many years. Many of us have observed the comfort, love, and healing taking place while sharing food and drink. Food itself is a comfort. Coming together as a community to support each other, remembering the departed, and sharing memories with grieving families and friends, are all parts of a continuing tradition at St. Christopher. Helpful information for Bereavement Committee members follows at the bottom of this page.
“Death is a major disruption of family, community, and society. Funerals and the rituals that surround them are a way of mending and renewing this disruption. Given the importance of food to creating ties between people and expressing historical roots, food and drink are often a major part of the funerary and healing process. Food is the ultimate and final expression of an individual and community’s culture.”
- Katy Meyers, Author
How to Request a Funeral Reception
This ministry is one that is offered when there is a short timeline, such as in the case of a funeral, in order to ease the burdens of those who mourn. In order to request such hospitality, call the church office as early as possible (281-332-5553), so that availability of assistance can be assured. An offering is usually made to reduce the cost of this ministry.
A ministry of home-delivery of meals in the wake of a loss, illness, or surgery is available. Please contact the church office (281-332-5553) should short-term meals provide comfort and relief to you, or another person in need.
Meals are provided to the Youth Group for their regular Sunday evening meetings and worship. If your teen attends the Youth Group, she or he will be fed in body, mind, and spirit. (Volunteers to prepare and deliver meals are always needed. A sign up sheet for this ministry is located in the hallway outside the Welcome Center.)
Potluck occasions and catered/prepared meals are offered for or after many parish celebrations. While all are invited to contribute to the meal, resulting in a regular set of feasts, it is never necessary to bring food in order to be fed. All are welcome at the Table and the table at St. Christopher!
Helpful Information for Bereavement Committee Members
Setting up a reception
If more than 100 are expected to attend the funeral or memorial service, the reception is held in Buckner Hall.
Less than 100 guests can be accommodated in the Welcome Center and hallway just outside the Welcome Center.
A separate team of the Bereavement Committee has been established to see to set up and breakdown of furnishing. A schematic for The Welcome Center set up (for less than 100 guests) is attached. Additional chairs are placed in The Welcome Center and the hallway to allow more guests to be seated.
Buckner Hall is set with tables to accommodate the estimated number of guest (more than 100).
Where does the food come from?
Members of the Bereavement Committee receive a Constant Communications email notifying of a death, funeral date and time, and time of requested reception, along with number of anticipated guests.
Members of the Committee choose an item of food from the list below, and deliver this to the kitchen either the day before, or to the reception location, the day of the funeral. Those members whose schedules allow are heartily encouraged to stay and assist with hospitality through the hour of the reception. Many hands and hearts make the ministry satisfying.
Suggested foods at a reception (keep it simple*)
- Finger foods: sandwiches, vegetable tray, fruit tray
- Desserts: pie, cake, cookies, brownies
- Crackers and cheese, or chips and dips
- Any other food the member wishes to provide
- Iced tea, coffee/tea (regular and decaf), and lemonade are available in the kitchen pantry
- Punch, if someone wishes to prepare it, may be served in the bowl provided (closet)
*All items can be purchased at one of the major supermarkets in the area. In the event of an emergency (shortage noticed prior to the event) the purchaser will be reimbursed the expense of this/these item/s.
Presentation of food and drinks
These are special guests we serve at a reception. Therefore, we seek to present the refreshments just as we would if expecting special guests in our homes. The following directions have been established to assist Committee members in efficient measures of hospitality. Items can be found in the Bereavement Committee Reception Closet, located in the Buckner foyer:
- Tablecloths for all tables
- Glass pitchers for drinks (tea, lemonade, water, etc.)
- A punchbowl if punch is to be served
- Food is to be placed on plates or trays
- Clear plastic plates, cups, and utensils (no paper plates)
- Paper cups for coffee are acceptable for recycling reasons
- Elegant paper napkins
- Plates should be placed at the start of serving line, napkins, and utensils at the end of the table (reduces guest “juggling” of items)
All dishes taken from the closet must be washed and returned. Dishes belonging to parish members are washed and left in the kitchen to be picked up by owner. Committee members may simply take dishes home, making the process very efficient.
Plastic and paper cups can be rinsed and recycled.
Please note how many supplies were used so the closet can be restocked. An inventory will be placed on the inside of the closet door.