The loss of a loved one can hurt deeply. The mission of the Bereavement Ministry is to provide spiritual support and comfort to individuals and their relatives who experience the death of a loved one. We strive to comfort and encourage those who are confined to their homes, hospitals and other health-care facilities due to illness or other medical conditions. And should your family suffer a death, we stand ready to serve and assist with funeral arrangements and other details.
Services provided are as follows:
- Memorial Services, Graveside Services, Homegoing Services
- Referrals to Cemeteries and Funeral Homes
- Worship services at two of the local nursing homes
- Grief Support Group (offered through the Counseling Ministry)
- Cancer Support Group (offered through Heart To Heart Ministry)
- Telephone Call Support and Visitations to homes, hospitals, Nursing Homes, Hospice Programs, Rehabilitation Centers, Group Homes, etc.
New Birth – Bereavement
“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)
“Anguish”…“numbness”…“heartache”…“anger” are just some of the responses we have when we hear about the death of someone close to us. The word homegoing symbolizes the connection that Christians have with our Heavenly Father. When we die as a son or daughter of God, we return home to our Father. Thus the term homegoing is substituted for the word funeral.
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:1-3, New Living Translation)
We can never be truly prepared to lose a loved one. The Bereavement Ministry is in place to help you with your initial reactions to as well as planning and preparation for the death; serving you during the homegoing; and providing spiritual support afterward. We have an entire team in place to provide compassionate care with sensitivity and grace.
Descriptions of Different Types of Services Provided
In most Christian societies, families have customs to commemorate the life and death of a recently deceased relative. New Birth makes available various types of services, ranging from intimate gatherings to cathedral celebrations.
Although New Birth Missionary Baptist Church does not maintain a contractual relationship with any funeral home or cemetery, upon request we will offer an Atlanta-area referral listing.
Homegoing (Funeral) Service at New Birth
It is an honor for New Birth to serve you and your families as you celebrate the life of your loved one. We have elders, ministers, ushers, musicians, and sound technicians for each service conducted in The MC and Bobbie Norman Chapel, which accommodates 489 people. Services are usually conducted Monday – Friday and begin at 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. All homegoing services that take place at New Birth require at least one ordained New Birth elder to be present.
Memorial Service at New Birth
Here at New Birth, the term memorial service modifies the homegoing service by honoring the deceased person with pictures, flowers, crosses and urns without the presence of a casket. The actual service can be as formal as a homegoing service or as relaxed as a time of reflection and fellowship. The final format and activities of the memorial service must be approved by the Pastoral Services staff before the service can take place.
Funeral Home Service
A funeral home service takes place in the chapel of a local funeral home. Whenever the family chooses this option for the homegoing service, the funeral home staff assists the family with planning the service. Upon request, New Birth will provide elders and ministers. The funeral home staff is required to contact the Visitation and Bereavement Ministry office at least five days prior to the service. Please note that New Birth will provide elders and ministers for funeral home services upon request.
Graveside Services are small and intimate homegoing services that take place literally at the cemetery. Families coordinate this option with the cemetery and funeral home of their choice. When requested, New Birth elders and ministers are in place to officiate, pray, share words of comfort and offer the final committal. Special features of graveside services usually include: an extremely brief service (5 to 15 minutes' duration), the onsite committal and family observation of the initial stages of the internment (burial). As with funeral home services, please note that New Birth will provide elders and ministers for graveside services only upon request.
Wake / Family Hour/ Viewing
It is customary for some of our members to honor their loved one with a “wake,” “viewing” or “family hour.” All three of these services take place at the funeral home and are generally informal and have a brief time set aside for remarks and prayer. A minister or funeral home staff member will be present to oversee the proceedings.
A formal wake takes place in the chapel of the funeral home, with the body of the deceased person present for public viewing. The funeral home staff will arrange the type of service the family desires. With 5 day s' notice, New Birth can provide an elder or minister to be present.
During informal wakes, there is not an officiating person present. At any point, members in the audience are welcome to come up to the front of the chapel and offer reflections or share one-on-one with the deceased person’s family.
The family hour is a term that symbolizes a prearranged period of time that one or more family members are present at the funeral home to receive visitors. The funeral home staff arranges a “parlor,” where family members sit in the same private room with their loved one’s body. Visitors share a few intimate moments with the family; bonds are reconnected, memories are stirred and encouragement is shared one with the other. New Birth elders and ministers are not present during this time.
A public viewing is an option some families choose to provide an opportunity for others to come by the funeral home to see the deceased person. This option allows persons who cannot attend the homegoing or memorial service a time of private reflection with their friend. Neither the family nor New Birth elders or ministers are present during this time.
The resolution letter is also known as a “proclamation,” or “tribute.” This personal expression of encouragement comes from Bishop and Elder Long and the New Birth church family. Members of our congregation receive this personal memento which is often read during the remarks portion of the homegoing service.
Currently the repast, or the family meal, is the only area of the Bereavement Ministry that requires payment.