The Funeral Rites of the Disciples of Christ

by M-Gillies
Little Brown Church of the Valley has been open since 1939

The Little Brown Church of the Valley, located in Studio City, CA is one of the oldest Disciples of Christ churches in the Untied States with roots starting in the 1920s. In addition to hosting memorial services, the Little Brown Church has also been the site of over 25,000 weddings – the most famous being President Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s in 1952.

Breaking their denominational ties, a Presbyterian minister and several followers entered into unity with “the body of Christ at large” calling themselves simply Christians, in 1804. Soon after, in 1811 a Presbyterian minister named Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander began meeting independently, leading to Alexander being propelled into leadership of the “Disciples of Christ”. By 1832, the Christians and the Disciples of Christ saw a complimentary agreement of basic beliefs and aims, and further decided to join together to form the Disciples of Christ, one of the largest churches founded in North America with more than 1.2 million members in 4,400 congregations across Canada and the United States.

While the Disciples of Christ derive their doctrine from New Testament faith, they are highly tolerant in doctrinal and religious matters, believing that each person is free to explore and interpret Scripture according to one’s own experience. Because of this, there are no specific funeral or burial rites for members of the Disciples of Christ. The church however, does offer its facilities and support in times of loss within a Christian environment, performed by ordained clergy to insure the theological integrity of the ceremony.

While the family may involve other musicians or recorded music, it is left to the church organist to give the final say. Flowers are allowed to be placed in the sanctuary prior to service. However, for further information on the customs and rituals used to perform funeral services, it is recommended that local ministers of the congregation are contacted with regard to funerals and burials.

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