Friday, September 9, 2011


First things first, I believe in God.

I had the honor of assisting a family in the final arrangements for a family member that passed away this week. It was a difficult time for them, as all arrangement processes are. You try to take the burden from their shoulders as much as you can, its important to me that I take as much pressure off of the families shoulders as quickly as possible. I try very hard to put their minds at ease and afford them the opportunity to grieve and find support amongst themselves and friends.

One of the situations that arose was the families effort to locate a worship facility that they might be able to have a simple visitation and service at. It was becoming more and more of a hassle for the family so I stepped in to assist. I contacted one location in a neighboring town that the family had previously contacted and asked the minister if the chance was open for the church to provide its facilities to the family for a service. In the industry, it is not uncommon for a families minister or a minister to contact a local church and ask permission to use the facility for a service, even if the family member was not a member of the church.

I contacted this local church and communicated to the minister about the families situation, their small budget and perhaps if there was a way that this facility could assist in providing a location for the service.

Minister "X"
The first thing I was rudely told was, "Well, I talked to my insurance underwriter and he said it was too big of a risk, I can't do it". He hung up. I was shocked, I could not believe what just happened. Basically I was told by a local minister to go jump off a bridge, or words and meanings to that effect.

I sat at my desk numb, thinking for a minute what to do. I was a bit disturbed that a local worship facility would not even consider providing a simple 2 hour service to a local family. This minister did not even afford me the opportunity to offer a small honorarium to his facility for it's use.

After about five minutes I decided to call him back, I was to ask if perhaps I had misrepresented myself or came off the wrong way, I'm sure whatever it was I would be able to correct his misinterpretation of my request. Well, the phone was answered and again I re-introduced myself and I was told, "Where are you calling from?" I told him "Avenidas Funeral Chapel here in Avondale.   I was just hoping that a facility of God, that a family reached out to might re-consider to provide a service to the family?" "Who are you?" He shouted, "Are you chastising me"? At this point I realized I made a very big mistake trying to appeal to this mans emotions and compassion.

I was told, and I quote:

Look! I know exactly what you and your people are like, people like you coming here and breaking all their legs all over my parking lot and everything at MY church. I heard about those people, they're a problem, I have no time for you or your type here.

Pastor I thought the Church was suppose to help out by serving the community, I have a grieving family here, They need a little compassion and help. I don't think I'm asking for so much.

Oh yeah, and just how much are you making off of this family using my church? Whats in it for me? Why don't your people go bug the Catholics or someone else? Use their church. I bet she didn't even go here did she?, stop wasting my!

First off, I thought the the church was suppose to be the house of God that belonged to the people, I thought that even if a person was less than perfect that everyone was welcome in the house of the Lord. 

I was not aware that payments for services were required and expected.


I want to know exactly what was meant by the comments "your people" and "they're a problem" and "you and your type".

Please don't think harsh of any church of God. I have worked with some very fine ministers, pastors and priests in my day.  Please remember that if you find yourself in a situation while looking for a worship facility for a service and your calls are not returned, you are given many excuses and much hesitation, or the topic of whether the deceased was a member of the congregation comes up over and over, or the topic of a honorarium comes up. Perhaps you should seek elsewhere.

I know one thing now, I will never recommend, nor ask a specific pastor or his church for a family while they are grieving and are looking for a compassionate soul to help them through these times.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! as I was reading this my Heart was hurting. Only last month I too Had to face for the very first time .A death in our family. As that family our situation with money was very tight. But I know that one of the reasons We got through it all, was because of people like Miguel and Brandon @Avenidas Funeral Chapel. We were Given Compassion and understanding.
    So Shame on that Church for having that Pastor as a representive of God. How can you serve the People in your community with that attitude!!!!
    I'm so sorry that Family had to go through that.. But I'm glad they had you on their side to comfort them. May God Bless you All.