Church or the Chapel?

Posted on December 12, 2014 by J. Chad Pendley under Most Common Questions
Leave a comment


There are many decisions that need to be made at our arrangement table and one of those that causes a lot of discussion and consideration is the place of the service.  Today with the progressive views on how services should be conducted, there are many options available for those making this decision.  20 years ago there wouldn’t be much hesitation with this decision, most of all the funerals conducted were at the Church or some House of Worship.  From my experiences with the families that we serve I want to tell you the good, bad and the ugly with these decisions.  Today’s post will focus on a Church or the Funeral Home Chapel, even though there are so many more options but these are still the two main venues that we serve.


Our House of Worship…

Having a funeral service at your home church can be such a comfort and blessing.  For those who are committed in their church this choice seems ideal… It makes it easy for all those who are members to attend, and it represents a full circle of life for those who were raised, baptized or even married in that Church.  A Church brings a lot of meaning to a service and a sense of comfort for all those who attend.  We feel at peace when we are in our House of Worship and for some… we feel it brings us closer to God in a time when we need that comfort and healing.  Traditional Churches have a layout that make it easy to hold those life celebrating events but for some of the contemporary layouts of churches it can make it a bit more difficult.  Examples would be those places that have a stage, rows of chairs without aisles or steps into the Sanctuary.  These are obstacles that we see with some of the new layouts, but don’t let that worry you…. a casketed funeral service can still happen with a little planning!

The main thing that many don’t see when holding a funeral service in a Church is the amount of people it takes to operate that Church.  We are used to walking into our home Church on Worship day and everything just goes smooth, but behind the scenes there are so many staff members and volunteers that have planned all week just to make that morning service go smooth.  So on days for funeral services we don’t have all the staff and volunteers needed to help with things like operating the audio/video, lighting, parking, cleaning and to much amazement it always seems like the person who knows how to operate the Heating and Air is usually off that day!  These are just some obstacles that we know will come up but the good news is we help you plan for this, the only problem is that you usually incur a cost to have all these people making sure all these items are being monitored.  The amount you spend in honorariums will double or even triple when holding a service at some of our Churches.

Another downside to having a service at your church that we see with some people is the remembrance of that service.  Some people have a hard time attending services after the funeral because all they can envision is the casket still at the front of the church, this can bring a lot of emotions to someone who is having a hard time already coping with their own grief.  We see families who actually have to attend different Churches while trying to cope and this will even add more stress and for some, it will even keep them from finding a church and leaving them alone without a place of Worship.

Our Funeral Home Chapel…

Funeral Homes all offer a chapel for families who choose to hold their services there.  The size and the style of these chapels differ between all funeral homes but by law they have to seat at least 30.  For some this will be ok but more times than not, you will need more seating.  Having a service at the funeral home takes away a good bit of stress when dealing with the details of the service, funeral directors are used to their chapel and the staff is good at conducting services at their own location.  They know they best way to make the service flow flawlessly and how to provide the family with right type of environment for their service.  Most funeral homes have the usual musical instruments and pieces to make the service personal to you.

Funeral Homes for the most part make having the service simpler but for some it still doesn’t bring that sense of comfort that they would feel in their own Church.  Many people feel more comfortable attending a service at a Church rather than coming in to a funeral home… Honestly, some people are just afraid of Funeral Homes… and I just can’t understand this but I do work here everyday!  Some people have a hard time coming to the funeral home because it brings up hard times in their life, probably because they were there at one time for someone in their family.


Whether having a service at the Church or the Funeral Home is completely a personal decision and its my job as the Funeral Director to make sure you know all the options that allows you to make the best decision for you and your family.  No matter the location we make sure that the environment is fitting and we know how to take out the stress of planning any service so you can focus on honoring that life we are gathering to celebrate!

If you have had a service at a Church or a Funeral Home, let us know your thoughts on what you liked about your decision in the comments below…

Chad is a licensed professional and is a native of Cobb County, growing up in Powder Springs and currently living in Marietta Ga. After graduating from McEachern High School Chad attended Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service and graduated as a Master Artist of the Pi Sigma Eta Honorary Mortician Fraternity. He was the recipient of the Bill Pierce award and Daniel E. Buchanan award, recognizing him as a leader in the funeral profession. A member of the Marietta Metro Rotary and different organizations in his profession, Chad also participates in monthly activities promoting the funeral home and networking with other professionals in the area. He is a member and attends Westridge Church in Dallas Ga. He is married to Kristin and as a proud father, Chad enjoys the time he gets to spend with his family. Chad is an avid hunter and a true outdoors man. He has a gift of developing a warm, helpful, and strong relationship with the families he serves and is a valuable source of knowledge at Mayes Ward-Dobbins.

Twitter Facebook Google +

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.