Resource: Funeral Sourcebook

Vol. 1. 1998. 234 pp. $43.95; with diskette, 49.95; Vol. 2 (2001) 216 pp. $49.95, includes CD. Canton, Ohio: Communication Resources, 2001. order@ComResources.com

From the same publisher, an easy-to-use collection of worship resources for pastors planning memorial services and funerals. But unlike the “Wedding” volumes, the introduction here calls not for diversity for its own sake, but for “theological alertness” at the funeral or memorial service. (The author writes: “nothing done or sung or said should sell short or betray the Christian faith . . . and the presence of large numbers of unchurched or nominal Christians makes a “faith check” all the more critical.”) That alertness in the editing process keeps the quality quotient quite high, even as the quantity is nearly overwhelming. Musical suggestions are good—no Broadway show tunes or corny pop songs here. Poetry and prose readings range from the expected (Donne’s Death, Be Not Proud) to the brand new (an excerpt from the bestselling Tuesdays with Morrie). The homilies are exceptionally good as sermon starters. A wonderful help for pastors shepherding grieving families through sorrow to hope. Both volumes come in three-ring binders. Some overlap between Volumes 1 and 2.

Ron Rienstra is associate professor of preaching and worship arts at Western Theological Seminary and co-author of Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry (Baker Academic, 2009).