Committal Service after a Death During a Pandemic

Dearly beloved:
We are gathered here today in the sight of God,

under this spring sky, to lay (name) to rest.
For everything there is a season,
and a time for every purpose under heaven.

There’s a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pick up what is planted,
a time to laugh and a time to weep.
Today is a time to say good-bye.
We are sorry that there are so few of us here in this important, holy moment,
but in this time of quarantine and social distancing,
we are all called to be mindful of health and safety.
We know that many are here with us in spirit.
Let’s pray together:
Almighty and ever-loving God,
In this moment of deep grief,
we come with questions;
asking why—why this had to happen?
asking how–how we can get though it?
We turn to you.
Thank you for being with us in this time of sorrow.
You knew (name) through and through,
you loved them from the moment they were conceived.
You were with them on the day of their birth,
and on the day of their death.
You gave them a good life, a wonderful family;
they loved deeply and were deeply loved.
You walked with them in good times and hard times.
We believe that today (name) is happy and blessed
surrounded by your love,
reunited with loved ones who have gone before.
Be with us in our tears, in our aching hearts,
in the smiles that memories bring
as we grieve and remember (name).
You who have conquered the mystery of death,
be with us now,  Amen.

This is a time of wondering
where we stand poised between life and death.
We wonder how this could have happened,
and we wonder how we can survive it.
It’s a time to think about a life, (name)’s life.
We give thanks for all they meant to us as
They were a gift from God to us,
and we are so thankful for their presence in our lives.
We have so many beautiful memories which we can treasure,
which will be a source of comfort for us.
While (name)’s earthly life has come to an end too soon,
their life with God has entered a new richness;
they have been embraced by God in a fuller way.
They now know more completely than any of us
what salvation means,

and how Jesus rescues us from death,
into the peace of God’s marvellous light.

We pause here at this graveside and think about the earth.
The earth is good, God created it.
We lay (name)’s body to rest in the gentle earth;
of dust we are made; and to dust we shall return.
Hear the words from Ephesians 3:
We pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints,
what is the breadth and length and height and depth
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Seeing that the earthly life of our (brother/sister/friend), (name), has come to an end,
we commit their body to be buried, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
confident of the resurrection to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Name), may God bless you and keep you;
May the very face of God shine upon you, and be gracious to you,
May God’s presence embrace you and give you eternal peace.  Amen

Let’s pray together.

Dear God: grant us the peace that we need as we face this parting. 
May this peace that passes understanding
fill the hearts and minds of (names of those present),
and the whole extended family, who are grieving in their own homes.
Sustain us all in the days and weeks and months to come.
God in heaven, you are the author of time,
and we give (name) into your loving care for all of eternity.
We pray this in the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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