Funeral Services

A final dedication to honor your loved one

The Gospel of Jesus Christ meets our deepest griefs and anxieties about death with an even deeper hope. The Christian funeral service is the final dedication of a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, and, like the first dedication at Baptism, occurs as an act of worship. The pastors of First United Methodist Church of Austin (FUMC Austin) and this faith community want to minister to families on the occasion of a loved one’s death. When a loved one dies, we hope you will call one of our pastors as soon as their presence would be helpful to you, regardless of the hour.

If you wish to notify the church of a death and inquire about funeral services, call the church office during business hours, or leave a message for the on-call pastor at 512-478-5684 (ext. 213) so that the on-call pastor can contact you as soon as possible. Please note that funeral services require at least 72 hours advance notice, and often more, in order to adequately plan and provide needed staff and volunteers to carry out the service.  Funeral services that are scheduled prior to consultation with the pastors are subject to availability of church facilities and clergy.


On this page, you will find an introduction to our step-by-step guide to planning a funeral service with First United Methodist Church of Austin as well as links to the complete PDF. While a pastor will walk through each step of process with you, this guide can help you understand the church’s facilities and the options you have as you prepare to remember and celebrate the life of your loved one.


If you or your loved one have ties to the faith community at FUMC Austin, church staff will ask you to provide an obituary and picture of your loved one so that we can send a “Celebration of Life” email to notify the congregation of the death and the scheduling of services. 

That same picture and story of your loved one’s life will also be made available to those who attend the funeral as it will be included with the order of service in the printed bulletin, a guide to the worship service. 


The Christian funeral is a service of worship in which we thank God for the gifts of life, including those that extend beyond death. We especially give God thanks for this special person who lived among us and who now, even in death, continues in God’s love and care, and lives on in our memory.

While recommending the worship service outlined in The United Methodist Church Book of Worship, our pastors are happy to work with you to plan a service that meets your particular needs and wishes. The pastor assigned to the service will schedule a meeting with all pertinent family members at least 72 hours in advance in order to plan the service. 

To prepare for that meeting, begin thinking about how many people may attend the service, whether you will want a family member or friend to share personal stories about your loved one as a “witness to the life” of your loved one, and any scripture readings and hymns or other music you would like to include in the service. If you need suggestions for scriptures and hymns, we have included a list of possibilities on pages 5-7.

You will also want to consider which setting best matches your needs at this time. Services can be held in the FUMC Sanctuary (seating for 750) or in Murchison Chapel (seating for 80), at another chapel, the funeral home, or the graveside.

A reception following the worship service can also be hosted on site at FUMC Austin. More details about the options available are included in the Receptions section of this guide. 

Additional staff, including the Assistant to the Pastors and Director of Events, will reach out to arrange details for the service and a reception following worship, when that is applicable. We are also accustomed to coordinating with a funeral director, but in case of a memorial service, this may not be necessary.


Following the service, you may choose to have a reception onsite at FUMC Austin. This is a chance for those who attend to share condolences with you and to express their care for and memories of your loved one. Receptions are held in Wesley Hall (on the ground floor of the Sanctuary Building, accommodates 100) or the Family Life Center Great Hall (accommodates 400). Both venues are shared spaces on a busy campus. While we make every effort to prioritize funerals for facility use, some conflicts cannot be avoided. We appreciate your understanding as we do our best to accommodate your reception preferences.

If you have connection to this faith community, receptions are typically hosted by a Sunday School class or another small group in which the deceased was involved, providing refreshments and volunteers to help prepare and reset the reception venue. Otherwise, church staff will seek volunteers to help with a reception. Families may also choose to provide catering for a reception in consultation with the Director of Events.

Download the complete guide to planning a funeral with FUMC Austin>