Discussing death, even in general, is not easy for many Christians. Especially when the death of someone close to us happens, one of the more difficult and challenging tasks is to notify others about it in an appropriate manner. In these instances, in churches, members need to be notified and include the departed in their prayers. But in what ways can we communicate about death in our congregation? How do we go about notifying the congregation about deaths? Here are simple suggestions on how to do so.
How do you communicate deaths within your congregation?
“We usually have around 2-4 deaths per month (mostly folks that haven’t been able to attend church for years because of age and health, people not known by the majority of the congregation), and we send out an individual email to the entire congregation to communicate each death. I don’t love it. What do you do?”
Deaths can be put in your church’s newsletter. Dedicate a portion for these announcements so that members will know where they could locate it. You could include the departed’s obituary and service information to keep everybody informed. You could also add the family’s contact information, with their consent, of course.
Emails can be overwhelming, especially if it consists of bad news. This is why individual, moderated emails may be best when it comes to notifying your congregation about someone’s death. First, you may ask for a list from the family of the departed on who they would like to notify, and you can share the necessary details with them through email.
You could also ask your members if they would like to sign up in an email group to notify them about other members’ deaths/serious illness. From there, assign someone to moderate these emails. They will send these announcements along with relevant details and respond to any related inquiries.
Obituary Section in Website
Churches could also assign a section in their official website dedicated solely to the departed’s obituaries. You could post about the funeral details in there, along with who they can contact for related inquiries. You could also include their pictures in commemorating them. This will allow members the freedom to decide whether they want to check it out or not. This also helps people who want to be updated and notified about these matters to know where they could regularly see them.
Last but not least, you could incorporate the announcement of deaths at the end of services. This will allow you and your members to pray for the departed together. Then after that, maybe you could give handouts to those who want to know more details about the matter—funeral details, family’s contact information, and more. Members could also come to the leaders if they want to offer any help with the funeral.
Before announcing anything, make sure that you ask for the consent of the departed’s family first. Notifying the congregation about deaths is necessary but remember death is a sensitive matter. Always be considerate and appropriate to everyone.