Ceremonies may be held by the dying before death,
          or by the family and friends after death has occurred.
          The body or the ashes may or may not be present.
          The purpose of the ceremony is to calm and comfort
          all who are involved and to remember a person who
          has shaped and informed our life.

Introduction: Welcome the bereaved to this celebration of life and death. Life is cyclical and death is as much a part of life as birth. The crowd has been gathered together to celebrate, remember and mourn that which seems impossible to understand: our Beloved is dead.

The Leave-Taking: Explain very briefly how the person died, whether a description of the illness, the dignity which which the person left, the suicide, or the accident. The more we can clarify the situation, the less time we will need to spend on it later. A person's death is a piece of her life. Even if there was a suicide, if you are clear from the beginning what happened, then people are freed to move on to their grief.

Eulogy: Evoke the deceased for the mourners, so that they may be reminded of the life that was lived. This is a place to talk about the deceased's wonderful attributes so that folk are reminded of stories they'd like to tell.

Piecing A Quilt of Their Lives: Issue an invitation to the mourners to remember and share stories that will keep this beloved person alive and warm their hearts forever. You may choose to tape this part or to ask folk to write their memories down so they can be gathered into a book.

Finding Meaning, Finding Hope: Remind the living to make meaning of this life in the way they live their own life. This is an exhortation to community and meaning.

Benediction: Relinquishing the life, seeking comfort in belief and community, looking to the future.

Committal Service: Commit the body to the dead, the soul to the universe and the heart to the living. Return the body or the ashes to the earth or the sea or the sky. This represents the end of their corporeal life but the continuance of their life in ours.

Spiritual References: The spiritual tenor of the service should be representative of the deceased and comforting to the living.

Scripture, Readings, Hymns, Songs may be appropriate additions to the ceremony and another way for people to participate.

The Wake: A celebration with food and drink is a further way to remember and mourn.

Special ceremonies and rituals of remembrance can be designed to honor the deceased and her place in the community. Pass out mementos, erect an altar, design a community pall.