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Designing a Funeral Program: A Lasting Tribute

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/20/2011

If someone close to you has passed away, using a program for the funeral will create a permanent keepsake for the people who are mourning the loss. Here you will learn how to design a free Microsoft Word funeral program template.

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    A Program to Help at Your Time of Need

    If you are creating a funeral program, you have either just lost someone you love or you are helping someone who has suffered such a loss. What do you want to convey to family and friends with your work? A funeral program provides a way to relate all the details of the person’s life, and it also serves as a guide for the events of the funeral. It will display songs, psalms, hymns, or prayers that are meaningful to the family and the departed. The program can be adjusted so that it's appropriate whether or not the deceased person practiced a spiritual life.

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    In Bright Hub’s Desktop Publishing Media Gallery, you will find a template to help you create a funeral program that will make a respectful and beautiful memorial for the deceased. Download the template now and consider your own ideas as you read how to use it.

    The template consists of two pages, one of which will serve as the front and back page of the funeral program. The second page will be the inside pages. You will have to print the first page and then reinsert the paper in your printer so that you can print the second page on the reverse side. Practice, first, so you’ll know which way to insert the paper for the printing of the second page.

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    Front Page

    • Delete the name John Smith and insert the name of the departed.
    • Delete the word date and type in the Date.
    • Delete the word Church and type in the name of the Church.
    • You can leave the word Officiant; leave a space after it and then type in the name of the pastor, priest, rabbi, or the person who is presiding over the service.

    Back Page

    If you’ve written an obituary, you can copy the text into this space. We also have an excellent template to help you write the obituary. Once you Funeral program change font paste it into this space, you can change the size of the font so that it will fit the text box. Or, if you like, insert a photo of the deceased from his or her younger days. If the person was involved with an organization, use a photograph of him or her wearing a uniform.

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    Inside Panel, Left

    • Once again, delete John Smith and type in the name of the departed.
    • Delete the Born and Died dates and insert the correct dates. If you only have the birth year, that will be enough, but you can still put in the exact date of death.
    • If you have a photograph of the person in your computer, you can insert it here by choosing the Insert tab and then clicking on Picture. The photo will insert in place of the image of the lily and the cross. You can then delete the text below it.
    • If you don’t like the way the photo looks, and you want to return to the image of the lily and the cross, just type Control+Z and it will return to its original state.
    • Below, you will see the words John Smith (replace this with the departed person’s name) is mourned today by his beloved family: Here you type in the names of the spouse, children, parents, and other immediate family members.)
    • He is honored by his pallbearers…insert their names here.
    • Similarly, you will add the date, the name of the church, the officiant, the name of the cemetery, and the place where family and friends will meet afterward.
    • Delete the wake information if it is private or if there is none. No explanations are necessary. If anyone asks, simply say that it’s private.

    Funeral program with inserted image Funeral Program without inserting image 

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    Inside Panel, Right Side

    The top contains words of comfort and an image that you can leave in place. Just below it you will find space to insert a favorite biblical or inspirational quotation. It can be your own or something the departed loved. If appropriate, it can be words from a poem or even a few lines from a song.

    The officiant will provide you with some ideas. If you want to find something on your own, some very nice choices include:

    • The 23rd psalm (the Lord is my shepherd…)
    • Psalm 30:5: Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
    • Isaiah 54:10: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
    • You can visit a website like Encouraging Bible Quotes; you’ll find a link below.

    Prelude

    This is music that people will hear as they enter the place of the funeral service and take seats. Type in the name of the song if you like. You can choose something that had meaning for the departed, or make a selection from something you like. Visit Amazon.com and search their MP3 downloads, searching for Funeral Songs, to hear portions of songs to help you decide. A link is provided below. Some beautiful choices include:

    • The Water is Wide
    • Wind Beneath My Wings
    • Bridge Over Troubled Water

    Call to Worship: This entry stands on its own. Your officiant will speak here.

    Song: Many people like to use this for a solo, but you can simply choose another hymn if you like. Appropriate choices for this include:

    • How Great Thou Art
    • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
    • Ave Maria
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    Invocation: Once again the officiant will handle this. He will ask God, if the deceased was Christian, to give comfort to all present and to take the soul of the deceased to sit beside Him in Heaven. You don’t need to make any entry in the program here.

    Eulogy: Here you should enter the name of the person who will eulogize the departed. If nobody will speak, you can have someone simply read the obituary or just omit this part of the program.

    Reading: This is an opportunity for a close friend or family member to read from the Bible or other religious book. The officiant can help you pick something out ahead of time. You should offer no more than two or three pieces for your family member to choose from, and ask them to practice before the service. If you used Isaiah 66:12-14, your entry would read

    Reading: Mary Smith, Isaiah 66:12-14.

    You do not need to include these words in your program, but here they are for you to consider:

    Isaiah 66:12-14

    For this is what the LORD says:

    "I will extend peace to her like a river,

    and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;

    you will nurse and be carried on her arm

    and dandled on her knees.

    As a mother comforts her child,

    so will I comfort you;

    and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."

    When you see this, your heart will rejoice

    and you will flourish like grass;

    the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants,

    but his fury will be shown to his foes.

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    Hymn: Select a hymn that is well known so that many people will be able to join in. Some appropriate selections for this spot include:

    • Shall We Gather at the River
    • We Gather Together
    • Amazing Grace

    Benediction: Your officiant will bless those present. You need not list anything beside this word. If those present have not yet recited a prayer in unison, ask your officiant when this can be done. Everybody knows The Lord’s Prayer.

    Recessional: As the pallbearers carry the departed from the place of the service, followed by mourners exiting, you can insert in the program the name of music used at this time:

    • On Eagle’s Wings
    • Rock of Ages
    • O My God Within Thee There Is Eternal Life

    We hope that this free Microsoft Word funeral program template has been of help to you and your family in your time of need. The program will be something for family members to retain over the many years to come, something to look back on and cherish.

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    Resources

    Encouraging Bible Quotes.com, at http://encouragingbiblequotes.com/versescomforta.html

    Amazon.com, search of funeral songs, at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_13?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=funeral+songs&sprefix=funeral+songs

    Prayers and Prayer Info. God Be In My Head, at http://www.prayer-and-prayers.info/funeral-prayers/god-be-in-my-head.htm

    The photo used in the program was a stock photo of Vince Edwards, who played Dr. Ben Casey on TV in the 1960s. He passed away in 1996.

    Screenshots by the writer.