As many of us have experienced the loss of a loved one, we recognize the importance of comforting those who mourn. This kindness of being with those who grieve can take many forms — but for the Funeral Dinner Ministry, it looks like providing and serving a meal to those who attend the funerals at the parish. For the grieving family, the funeral-planning process is a busy and difficult one. And, like weddings, a funeral may be the only time that they see extended family. This meal gives them the opportunity to gather with the friends and family who have also lost this special person.
Ruth Pohlman is the coordinator of this ministry at St. Paul’s. Six groups serve at different times and each group has its own chairperson. Many of the members will join other groups if they need more volunteers on any given day. St. Paul’s Funeral Dinner Ministry offers several different meal options to the family. The food is prepared by the local grocery store and those who serve the meal prepare the food and beverages and handle the setup and cleanup. These ministries look similar in the churches of our Parishes on the Prairie, though there are some differences depending on the needs and abilities of the parish to serve others.
“It is good for the family to be able to come together and have time to visit with people,” Ruth says. “Those that attend the funeral are there to support the family and this is one way for them to be able to spend a little more time together.”
Food that is left over is sent with the family afterward. This is another way to serve the family in their time of need.
“I love doing this work,” Ruth says. “It can be a lot of legwork along with the setting up and cleaning up but it is well worth it. The families are so thankful. We often know them personally in the parish so it is rewarding to get to serve them at this difficult time in their lives.”
For the families and friends who have lost a loved one, this ministry serves them by giving them an opportunity to spend time together in the midst of their mourning. This straightforward ministry is an important part of making the parish a caring and welcoming community. It also gives us the opportunity to welcome and evangelize others who attend the funerals, but may not frequently come to church. Making them feel welcomed and provided for is a great witness to them.
For St. Paul’s parishioners interested in joining the Funeral Dinners Ministry, contact Ruth Pohlman at 320-761-4236. For all other parishes, contact your respective parish office to be put in touch with your parish’s coordinator.