Dear Gulf Coast Leaders,A couple of you have asked me about All Saints liturgies. Below is one for your consideration. This is a powerful liturgy. It will elicit both joy and sorrow. There will be tears. Perhaps have some tissue packs around. Be sure to leave enough time. This doesn’t go quickly, and shouldn’t. It is worth having a shorter sermon to accommodate this time, through which the Holy Spirit will preach volumes.

If you have an uncopyrighted All Saints rite you’d like to share, send it to me and I’ll pass it on.

If you’re going to get candles for the whole congregation, here are some options. My favorite candles are these beeswax, no-drip candles: You need twice as many candles as the number of people at your largest service. If you use these, you can have people place them in small sand boxes. If time is tight, Saccos (Houston) sells votive candles in clear plastic cups in cases of 100 for $34. If you’re really on a budget, a case of 50 tea lights is $5: In a pinch I suppose you could use last year’s Christmas candles; just remove the bobeches, and have them placed in the sand.

Be sure to think of the pastoral care that needs to take place after this service. Have your best listeners ready to go. This tends to surface both the pain of loss, and the hope of the resurrection.

Yours in Christ,

Mike Rinehart, bishop

This rite is used after the creed. It includes prayers. In preparation have a table or tables set up with six-inch, thick pillar candles for the members of the church that have passed away in the last year, and then at least two votive candles for each person who will be coming to that service. Decorate the tables in white and gold cloth. Place the Paschal Candle at the center table. If small white votive candles are used, an ample amount of lighting sticks should be placed around the table(s).

As the names of the members who have died are read, the pastor or an acolyte or assisting minister lights each pillar candle. A bell may be rung. Afterward, the people are invited to come forward and light a votive candle in memory of loved ones. Let people come forward to light candles in silence. If you must have music, choose very carefully. The music here would have to have sufficient gravity to reflect the sacred nature of the moment.

Prayers in Remembrance of the Saints

When we were baptized into Christ Jesus, we were baptized into his death.

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his,

We shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

A reading from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (I Thessalonians 4:13)

Let us pray.

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you today these saints who have finished their course and now rest fro their labors.

As each name is read a bell is rung and a pillar candle is lit.

List names, birth dates and death dates.

At this time the assembly is invited forward to light candles in memory of loved ones.

When all who wish have come forward:

We thank you for giving these loved ones to us to know and to love as companions in our pilgrimage on earth. In your boundless compassion console us who mourn. Give us your aid, so that we may see int death the gate to eternal life, that we may continue our course on earth in confidence until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before us.

Hear us O God,

Your mercy is great.

Look kindly upon all of us who walk as yet by faith, and keep us in the true faith of the saints until that day when we meet you face to face.

Hear us O God,

Your mercy is great.

Save and defend your holy church. Fill it with all truth and peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it.

Hear us O God,

Your mercy is great.

Guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Hear us O God,

Your mercy is great.

We remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy.

Hear us O God,

Your mercy is great.

Additional prayers may be said at this time.

We give you all thanks and praise, O God, for you are preparing a rich banquet for all your saints
that we might rejoice forever in your salvation.

In your Son, Jesus Christ, we have seen your deep anguish over the death of your faithful ones, and in his life-giving ministry we have seen your glory. Though he passed through the fires of death, we now see him raised up and making all things new. In him is our hope of resurrection and vindication for all who have trusted you, for their souls are safe in your hands.

Grant that through this mystery we and all who have gone to their rest in Christ, may share in the joy of his resurrection, through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


The service continues with the Peace.