Saint Dunstan's Church

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Planning A Memorial or Funeral Service at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church

At the time of death:

Please do not hesitate to call the Church for help in these difficult times. The rector, Rev. David Marshall, or a deacon may come to offer the prayers at time of death. This can be a great comfort to everyone, so please do not hesitate to call. These prayers can be said even if death is not certain, so there is no harm in saying them. In fact, they have often been given to people who then recovered.

There are also prayers to be said immediately after death, at a vigil prior to a funeral or memorial and at the reception of the casket at the church for the funeral. These prayers are a great comfort and blessing to family and friends dealing the with loss of a loved one. The Rev. David Marshall will be happy to explain these prayers and services to you at any time prior, during or after a passing.

As soon as possible after a death, a meeting should be arranged with the rector to plan the funeral or memorial. At this meeting we will choose the date and time of the service, decide if the body or ashes will be present (preferred), decide whether to include the Eucharist in the service (preferred), choose readings and readers, choose eulogists and plan the memorial reception. (See below for more about all these choices.)

If death occurs in a hospital or care facility, the staff there will need to know the name of the funeral home that will be handling arrangements. The funeral home staff will come for the body and will then set an appointment with you to come to their office to finalize details. The time of this meeting is at your discretion. In some cases, the deceased will have set up a contract with a local funeral home or a burial society and may have made payments in advance of need.

Types of Services:

Funeral: a type of service at which the body is present in a casket and the service will be followed by burial in a cemetery or in a crypt in a mausoleum. A funeral service normally takes place in the church (preferred) or in the chapel of a funeral home. The family may also have a graveside or crypt side service only. Any viewing of the body in the casket would take place at the funeral home prior to the service. At the service, the casket remains closed. The funeral home will work with the church to arrange details for transporting the casket to the church.

Memorial: a type of service at which the body is not present. The burial may already have taken place or the remains cremated. After cremation, the family may opt to scatter the ashes, place them in a columbarium niche (see further information below), or to inter them in the ground in a cemetery plot. Committal services are appropriate for both placement in a columbarium and internment in the ground of cremated remains.

Either of these services may be private or public. Private services include family members or close friends that are personally invited by the family. There is generally not an obituary in a newspaper, and the service is brief. If an obituary is written, a sentence indicating “Family service (or memorial) has been held” is included after the private service has occurred. Public services are announced in the newspaper in the obituary. The address of the church or chapel is included. The burial or committal of the body follows the service, and announcement can be made in a program or by the celebrant if this portion is to be privately attended. A reception usually follows a public service at the church or a place chosen by the family.

Service components

Readings from Holy Scripture: There are Old Testament options, New Testament options, Gospel options and Psalm options for either type of service. The full readings can be found at the the Lectionary Page:

Old Testament options:

New Testament options:

Gospel options:

Psalm options:

These readings are all available online at

Music can be provided at the services by the music director. Specific hymns or music may be requested by the family. Please contact the music director for help planning music. If desired, the music director can choose music for you.

Columbarium at St. Dunstan’s Church:

The Columbarium on the campus of St. Dunstan’s Church is unique to the Seattle area. It contains 180 niches with bronze face plates and a beautiful outdoor altar. A Memorial service is held in the church sanctuary; the ashes are carried in procession to the Columbarium and placed on the altar; the Committal portion of the service is read and the ashes placed in their niche. A reception follows in the church narthex. If a niche is purchased, the price is $850 and includes:


There are basically 3 ways to submit an obituary. The family may write one themselves and submit this online; the family may provide one to the funeral home to submit to the required newspapers; or some funeral homes have forms to complete by the family and will submit the obituary for them. The following information is generally included in an obituary:


There is no charge for use of the church for parishioners for services, music, or receptions. However, an honorarium or donation is expected for any person not a member of the congregation according to the following fee schedule:

All rates and fees are subject to change without notice.

Please call the church office at 206-363-4319 if you have any further questions.