It is written: "Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away." (Psalm 90:10). Even though a man lives up to more than 100 years and beyond, he will eventually die. It is God's law that no one can change.
As a result, the 'commemoration" fellowship, was founded in the church.
In the city of Dalian in Liaoning province, a "full range" of special funeral services in a Christian manner was initiated, promoted by Rev. Zhao Yonggang, the director of Dalian Christian Council & Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CC&TSPM).
At present, the services have been implemented in Dalian's Jinzhou, Quanshui, and Fengshou Road Churches. The biggest difference between a commercial service and that of the church is that the church's "full range" of services is completely free, carried out in a standard, Christian manner, and is highly praised and welcomed by family members of the deceased.
A sister who is the leader of the service in Fengshou Church introduced that according to the regulations of the process prescribed by the church for the Commemoration Fellowship to use, there are around eight free services: free burial attire; free use of a hearse; free shroud for the deceased; complimentary contacting of the funeral home; free help in procurring a death certificate and contacting the cemetery; free help in settling the funeral home fee; free help in burial or cremation; and free help in putting together a memorial service. The church also provides additional financial assistance to those who are widowed and in extreme distress.
There are a total of nine co-workers in the group, all women. They are the most respected and loving persons and provide the services for between seventy and eighty funerals every year. What they have to face are not joyful situations but rather the farewell of loved ones and involves sadness and crying. While following Scripture advice to, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn, (Romans 12:15)", they not only need to do a good job of psychologically comforting families, but also help them to go to police stations, funeral homes, cemeteries, etc., indirectly preaching the Gospel by their good deeds.
Among the nine sisters in the Fengshou church, some of them have multiple duties in the church. Some sisters came to church and served the second day after their mother had died. Some also have to manage caring for elders and children in their familly, but their ministry has to go on. The Gospel needs to be preached. Some also suffer from illness and are in difficult situations.
I also noticed two details: first, the church issues a card to family members to inform them of the matters needing attention, procedures and instructions, so as to cooperate with them. Secondly, the burial clothes are loose fitting and basically suitable for all sizes of the deceased. These kinds of details reflect the human touch and warmth of the church's service.
The "full range" of services not only solves the problem that the family members face such as the non-Christian practices of burning paper and fragrant incense; the "seven cries " (the belief is that people will have to pass seven passes to reach the underworld, and the relatives of the deceased will help the soul by crying seven times to guide them forward, which will shorten the time the soul needs to reach the destination.); the "going on the spot" (the dead will go to and look back fromtheir hometown); and the worshipping of ghosts and other superstitions and elaborate dilemnas. The "full range" of services also guides believers and their families in handling the funeral in accordance with Christian practice and doctrine.
A "commemoration" group sister said, "There is an example where some family members did not believe in the Lord. However after the church provided this "full range" of services, they felt the grace of the Lord. Some voluntarily gave an offering, some even started coming to church and eventually came to faith, accepting the Lord. Some families had a brother or sister who recommitted themselves to Christ."
-Translated by Heirs Han