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COVID-19 Update

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Memorial Church, the Center for Inter-Religious Community, Learning and Experiences (CIRCLE), and Windhover Contemplative Center are all currently closed. Students who wish to apply for a religious event exemption, click HERE for more information.

Banner image Campus Scenes, Memorial Church (450 Serra Mall), Memorial Court, Quad, Main Buildings, Quad / Quadrangle (area).

Memorial Services

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Memorial Church is a center for religious and spiritual life on campus, and therefore is frequently used as the site for memorial services for the Stanford community.

The following people are eligible to use Stanford University Memorial Church for these services:

  • Current Stanford students, faculty, staff and alumni, their children or spouses/partners
  • Current and former trustees of the university, their children or spouses/partners
  • Retired Stanford faculty and staff or former Stanford University employees with at least five years of service and a sustained connection to the University.
  • Long-standing congregants at University Public Worship known to the Office for Religious Life clergy.
  • Members of the Catholic community known to the Catholic campus clergy

Requesting a Memorial Service

Memorial services are requested by a family member, a university department or office or student group by completing the online form found here.

Planning a Memorial Service

The Office for Religious and Spiritual Life staff works with family, friends, and colleagues to plan a meaningful and fitting memorial service. ORSL clergy officiates all memorial services held in Stanford Memorial Church. The religious sensibilities of the person who died will be taken into consideration in determining which Office for Religious Life clergy will be assigned to the memorial. The Stanford officiant may invite outside clergy to offer a prayer or a reading at the memorial service.

Scheduling Memorial Services

Memorial services usually take place no earlier than three weeks following a death and often several months later. Services can be scheduled for afternoons Monday through Thursday. The church is not available for memorials on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays, or during University holidays and winter closure.

By university charter, funerals are not allowed in Stanford Memorial Church, and caskets or urns cannot be present at the memorial.

When we have determined eligibility, the date, and the officiating Office for Religious and Spiritual Life clergy, family members and the sponsoring departmental representatives will meet with the designated officiant to plan the memorial and work out the details for parking, accessibility, expected attendance, flowers, and related matters.

Order of Service

We work with families to prepare a memorial service that includes readings, reflections, and music appropriate for the person who has died and their family. We generally ask families to invite 3-5 people to offer reflections or testimonies. Each reflection should be 3-5 minutes in length.

Memorial services are conducted for one hour in length and follow an order of service for the remembrance and celebration of life.

This order includes some or all of the following:

  • Musical Prelude
  • Welcome
  • Opening Prayer or Statement
  • Reading
  • Reflections from Family, Friends, Colleagues
  • Reading or Musical Interlude
  • Reflections from Family, Friends, Colleagues
  • Musical Interlude
  • Reflections from Family, Friends, Colleagues
  • Commendation and Closing Benediction
  • Musical Postlude

Music is determined in collaboration with the University Organist. Classical-style music, or music from an established religious tradition, is most often played at memorial services in Memorial Church. Families are welcome to invite guest musicians to provide music beyond the organ music available in the church.

Most families, departments, and offices choose to include a printed bulletin or service program which will be designed and printed by the Office for Religious and Spiritual Life in collaboration with the family.

The Office for Religious and Spiritual Life is able to create an audio file of the memorial as a memory of the event.

Receptions Following Memorial Services

Stanford Memorial Church is not able to provide space for receptions. Arrangements for receptions are the responsibility of the family, Stanford office or department. Many families choose to work with the Stanford Faculty Club for receptions, and they should contact the Faculty Club.

Fees

  • Church Use: $1200 via credit card link
  • Organist honorarium: $300 via check (payable directly to the organist OR Stanford University as directed by the memorial service coordinator)
  • Clergy honorarium: $300 via check (payable directly to clergy)
  • Other fees may apply if special arrangements need to be made including, but not limited to reserved parking, shuttles, or special equipment.
  • There are no fees for Stanford students or current congregants.
  • Families and/or departments may arrange with a local florist for flowers to be delivered for the service.

Learn more  Frequently Asked Questions here.