How to Write a Thank You Note for a Clergy Funeral

by Anne Kinsey

Clergy invest a lot of time and effort into preparing for funerals by meeting with the family, counseling the bereaved, planning prayers, setting up music, writing a short sermon, and coordinating with funeral homes and florists. Write a thank-you note to let your pastor know that her efforts are appreciated and have made a difference in your family's healing process.

Consider the Pastor's Efforts

Remember the days and weeks surrounding your loved one's passing and all of the ways the pastor was helpful to your family members and friends. Perhaps he came to the hospital in the middle of the night to hold your hand as your loved one took her last breath. Maybe she wrote touching funeral prayers that reflected your loved one's unique talents in life and contributions to society. The sermon may have been particularly moving, or the music extremely well planned. If there was a certain scripture that touched your heart, make note of that, too. Be specific in your thank-you note by mentioning the specific things you appreciated about what the pastor did for your family in and around the time of the funeral.

Stationery Choices

Consider stationery choices that are appropriate to the occasion. If the pastor knew the deceased, remember that she may be grieving, too. In this case, it is particularly fitting to write your thank-you note inside of a sympathy card. Otherwise, choose thoughtful stationery that includes a particular scripture, religious imagery, photo of your loved one, or even a drawing by a young member of your family. Your pastor will feel very appreciated by any personal touches you include in your thank-you note.

Language

Use well-planned language in your thank-you note. Keep the tone friendly, but refrain from using Internet or texting abbreviations. Your grammar does not need to be perfect, but your note does need to be readable, understandable and in tidy handwriting. If you include a scriptural reference, use the language or translation most accepted by the clergy's denomination.

Gift Options

Most members of the clergy do not require gift or payment for their funeral services unless they are working for a funeral home, but it is nice to include a token of appreciation in your thank-you note. If you can afford to, make a small cash donation to the church in memory of your loved one. Otherwise, include a gift card to a favorite restaurant or spa, a hand-crafted item, or even a baked treat, and hand-deliver your thank-you note to the church.

About the Author

Anne Kinsey has been a writer for 10 years, with her writing published in print newsletters, as well as websites including eHow and LIVESTRONG. She is also a minister and violinist holding a B.A. in religion and African American studies, and a M.Div. in pastoral counseling.

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