The loss of someone dearly loved is both a moment and a journey. In the event of death, we are stretched beyond our immediate set of resources in practical matters—such as selecting elements of a memorial or funeral service—but even more so in emotional and spiritual matters—such as remembering the family and friends left behind after the loss.

At St. Columba’s, our hope is to minister to all who call on us, both members and non-members, through organising a memorial or funeral service that celebrates, grieves, and honors the life of your loved one.

Please do not hesitate to call us at (011) 646 5420 to set up an appointment with one of our ministers who will guide you through the event and journey of your loss.

Before your appointment with a minister, consider how we can help with the following arrangements such as:

Putting you in touch with an undertaker such as Thom Kight & Company, or working alongside one of your choice.

Setting up a Zoom service link for those who cannot attend, due  to travel.

Assisting your florist with flower arrangements, or organising a florist for you, such as Impala Flora.

Selecting hymns or songs you may wish to use (examples below).

Organising a few select eulogies to be read by friends, family, or one of the ministers.

Choosing a spiritual text and/or prayers that were meaningful to the loved one or by the family and friends (examples below).

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Revelation 21:1-7

21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Matthew 5:4

Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted. 

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Referring you to a qualified and experienced counsellor or psychiatrist (when necessary).

Designing a service pamphlet or working with the undertaker on the details and design.

After the memorial, consider how we can help with the following arrangements such as:

Setting up an appointment with one the ministers to organize the interment of ashes in the memorial garden

Inviting friends and family members to attend the short interment service


Nikki Bush in conversation with Rev. Alistair Anquetil, discuss the important topic of managing grief and loss in the time of Covid, including the validity and impact of incomplete grief and lack of closure. Alistair is one of the ministers at St Columba’s Presbyterian Church in Parkview, Johannesburg, together with Rev. Jaco Bester. His deep spirituality belies his ability to connect easily and naturally with people from all walks of life. Alistair’s insights and wise counsel are often sought when people are facing moments of crisis and celebration. During the global pandemic, Alistair and his staff, like many other institutions of faith, have been overwhelmed with death and loss as a result of the Covid-19 virus. 


  • What to say when someone has died
  • The concepts of lack of closure and delayed grief
  • How people are saying farewell to loved ones in a time of social distance
  • The importance of maintaining a sense of community and support even in a hybrid world
  • How do we create rituals in a time of social distance?
  • How grief is situational and contextual – no two journeys are the same
  • Survivor’s guilt and how important it is to let go of guilt to heal and move forward
  • Grief and loss is a journey that continues – there is no full stop you are working towards
  • The journey with grief has different tempos and support is not just needed at the beginning when things are intense
  • How teams should not be left in a vacuum when one of their members dies
  • The problems with isolation
  • Death as a time of deep reflection