When someone or some organization offers assistance and support during a time of sorrow, an opportunity to express gratitude presents itself. While words in conversation are important, often a written, more formal expression of thanksgiving is needed. It is more than appropriate to send a letter of appreciation to church after a funeral. Here are some tips and some sample letters to show your gratitude.
Three Tips in Crafting a Letter of Appreciation to Church After a Funeral
Expressing gratitude is an important part of the healing process after a funeral. You may wonder if letters of appreciation are necessary. Many people are not sure how to express thanks to an organization like a church. Here are three simple tips to help you craft a letter of appreciation to church after a funeral.
A local church performs a large number of a variety of services and ministries on a regular basis. The services may be achieved by a professional staff member or clergy, or they may be completed by a volunteer. Your specific letter of thanks will help the letter of appreciation get to the right individual. Simply indicate the ministry that has been performed and the people or committees that assisted you.
The church does not need nor expect a lengthy composition expressing your gratitude. Express your thanks and gratitude for the services and ministries performed.
The church understands that you are grieving and that many things are on your mind, needing to be done. In the days that follow the funeral, things will begin to settle down and return to normal. Taking the time early on to express thanks will keep you from forgetting to do it, but will also help you in the healing process.
The Many Roles the Church Plays
For many, the place the church occupies in the life of an individual is significant. From the baptism and care for a newborn child to the wedding ceremony and the marriage of a family member, the church builds relationships with people and offers service to them during life's special moments. The death of a loved one offers many opportunities for a church to minister to its members. A funeral setting also allows the church to reach out and offer service to non-members during a time of grief. Here are several typical things the church may provide for an individual during a funeral, and an example of a letter of appreciation.
A common ministry that many churches offer to the bereaved is providing food for the family at a time when cooking is not on anyone's mind. The food may be given to the family during the days of visitation or immediately after. A meal may be provided for the extended family following the funeral. A letter of appreciation could sound like this:
Dear [Person's Name],
Thank you for organizing and bringing the food during the visitation for my uncle. The church has been such a blessing during this difficult time for our family. The meat trays, fruit, and bread choices gave everyone an opportunity to eat when needed.
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.
The Jones Family
Hosting the Funeral Service
When the deceased was an active member of a congregation, the family often desires for the funeral to be held at the church building. This can be welcomed when a larger crowd is expected to attend the funeral service. A church funeral also provides as easier setting for church members to attend. A nice letter of appreciation might say:
Dear [Pastor's Name],
When we had to decide where to hold the funeral service, our desire was always to honor my father at his church. The gracious spirit of the church members and your kindness throughout the day brought sunshine to the darkness of our hours. We will never forget the church's expressions of love and honor for my father.
Providing Music or the Message
During a funeral service, often members of the church staff participate in portions of the funeral service. They may provide special music, background instrumental music, read Scripture, deliver a eulogy, or present a funeral message. This would be an example of a letter expressing thanks for these kind of services.
Dear [Name of Contact Person at Church, Individual who Performed Services, or Pastor],
On behalf of the family of Jim Jones, I would like to express our thanks to all of those who performed services at my father's funeral. Our gratitude goes out to Jane Smith for the lovely organ music, to Jim Smith for reading the Scripture, and for Pastor Bob Smith for delivering the eulogy. Your words and your kindness at our time of need will always be treasured by our family.
Hosting a Wake or Visitation
Many times the church is called upon to host the wake or visitation instead of having to move everything from the funeral home to the church building. Here would be an instance of such a letter.
Dear [Pastor's Name],
When we expected an attendance for the visitation of my father to be more than the 25 the funeral home could accommodate, our family immediately began to worry. When you offered to host the event, your church immediately took one of our biggest concerns off our shoulders. Your expressions of kindness during our time of need will never be forgotten. Thank you again for your church's willingness to host the visitation.
Often members of the clergy are trained in counseling individuals during times of grief. A letter expressing gratitude for such counseling could sound like this:
Dear [Pastor's Name],
The intense feelings of grief at the loss of our mother coupled with the many decisions that have to be made left several of us feeling stressed and anxious. The time that you spent with us after the first evening's visitation was priceless to our family. The words of comfort and encouragement that you shared made an impact. Thank you for your kindness and wisdom.
Letter From a Non-Member
When a family attends a church or when the deceased loved one attended, every individual who offers assistance might be a close friend. But when someone outside the church is helped, names of people might be impossible to determine. This would be an example of a letter sent by someone who does not attend the church.
To the Pastor and Members of Northwest Baptist Church,
Before my uncle John Jones passed away, he expressed a deep desire to have a church funeral. Although my uncle attended a church from time to time, he was not a member anywhere and all of his family live out of the state. The funeral directed suggested that we contact you and we are go glad that we did. Your church extended their hands to help us out during our time of need. Would you express our thanks to the young lady who offered a beautiful song and the older gentleman who read Scripture and prayed? Our family is very grateful for your kindness.
After the difficult moments of grief and bereavement, there may be a desire to send out a letter of appreciation to church after a funeral. Notes of such nature can be difficult to write. These sample words may help provide springboards to help you express the gratitude that is in your heart.