When a family needs hospitality the most, Trinity’s Funeral Serving Group is there for them. A large group of volunteers from Trinity has been serving funeral lunches for those whose loved ones have passed away and have the funeral service in our church. Whether they are members of Trinity, affiliated with Trinity, or are in a special circumstance where the funeral takes place at Trinity, the families have the option of this amazing group of people serving a lunch after the funeral service to all who are attending.
Traditionally, the women’s circles were in charge of this ministry. After the women in the circles became older, there simply wasn’t enough help anymore, so this ministry branched out to the entire congregation. The current group was formed, consisting of anyone in the congregation who wanted to be a part of it. Now men, as well as women of Trinity, work together to ensure that the deceased’s family and friends are well-fed. 
Jane Billings has been involved in this ministry since serving with a circle many years ago. They “used to make all of the cakes and bars and assemble the sandwiches,” Billings said, “while now everything is catered.” She mentioned that it’s extremely helpful to have men involved now, as they help serve coffee and chat with people…among so many other duties that the group shares.
Mary Charlson added that when this congregation group took over the responsibilities once held by the circles, they tried to keep things the same, just tweaking the process here and there. Seasonal decorations adorn each table, and guests come through a line receiving their food from the kitchen serving windows. She agreed with Billings that men are now heavily involved and love to help. “The men like to chat,” she said, “and they’re better at serving coffee because of this!”
A funeral lunch offers closure and fellowship…as well as food for the family and friends of the deceased. It also allows families time to talk with people. Billings said, “It’s such an important time!” Trinity “makes it very gracious for the families,” Charlson pointed out. “We still use dishes and cups…not plastic tableware. We have a fabulous dishwasher, so we clean up and clear/wash dishes while the family stays here and visits.”
There are so many different duties that require a large number of people to help…but “not too many because you don’t want people tripping over each other!” as Billings pointed out. Usually, 10 to 12 people serve at a funeral, and this number seems to work well. Some of the duties include setting tables, cleaning up, plating food, pouring coffee, washing dishes, and folding napkins. Sharon Heimbuch is a personal fan of folding napkins as it’s something that she can do easily while sitting down.

Michael Last, Greeter

Charlson says that Heimbuch even takes the napkins home to fold them, so there is a huge sense of pride here in a job well done. Charlson also pointed out that Jane Billings also takes the aprons and tablecloths home to wash and iron. Every bit of help that is offered is needed and greatly appreciated!
Colleen Last, one of the members of this ministry, said, “I spent my whole life avoiding church kitchens, and now I find myself there with good people to work with!” She said if you are invited to help with this funeral serving group, “Say Yes! It’s all about the people!” Her husband, Michael Last, also volunteers with this group, being the greeter extraordinaire. His welcoming smile and easygoing nature are perfect for this role.
In fact, there are so many roles that people can choose for their specialty, and the Funeral Serving Group is always looking for more volunteers. Why join? Charlson and Billings said, “It’s good fellowship. We have a good time and meet a lot of people. It’s also very rewarding…the people you are serving are so grateful, and they come back and thank us.”
If you’d like to help with this ministry, call Lou Ann in the Trinity office, and she can lead you to this amazing bunch of people. The Funeral Serving Group “is a well-oiled machine,” said Charlson, and “we try our best to accommodate. It’s all about being a servant church with radical hospitality!”†