Protocol for Jehovah's Witnesses Funeral Flower Arrangements

by Aaron Charles

The Jehovah's Witnesses, a global Christian organization, are known throughout numerous communities for their public ministry and their separateness from certain holidays. They base their beliefs and customs on the Bible, and their funeral customs are no exception. At a funeral for one of Jehovah's Witnesses -- which they often call a "memorial service" -- it's common to see a special arrangement of flowers.

Beliefs About Flower Arrangements

The Witnesses believe that flowers are parts of creation and should be appreciated and highlighted, and so they make flowers parts of their lives. At their memorial services, they view flowers as something that brings honor and dignity to the deceased person and to the occasion. But a time when protocol would call for not having flowers at a funeral, Witnesses say, is when having flowers would give the impression, because of local customs and culture, that they are participating in a pagan ritual.

Protocol For Family

Family members of the person who's died should respect any wishes that he's put in writing regarding how the memorial service should be conducted -- including the arrangements for flowers. If there are no written instructions, then the most immediate family members, typically, are responsible for making funeral and flower arrangements. Sometimes, though, the family might be too broken up to handle that responsibility, and so a family friend might then make the funeral and flower arrangements.

For Other Witnesses

Other Jehovah's Witnesses would follow similar protocol in terms of flower arrangements -- by respecting the person's wishes and their shared spiritual beliefs. The person responsible for making the memorial arrangements might delegate the responsibility for making flower arrangements to a man or woman who is a florist or who has a talent for arranging flowers. Following this protocol helps the Witnesses create a dignified and organized memorial service.

For Non-Witnesses

Those interested in providing flowers for a Witness funeral can check for any newspaper obituaries for specific direction, or try to contact the family. In some cases, the Witnesses are more than happy to accept flower arrangements from non-Witness community members for a memorial service. Or they might accept flowers on an individual level. One example of this is the community support given to a Witness family whose daughter was murdered in October 2012. The Witnesses accepted a flower arrangement from a local florist for a public memorial service, and gave thanks to all who sent flowers to the family.


About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including and "The Portland Upside."

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