Process for Communication Upon the Death of a Cleric, Spouse, or Widow


I. Our office will receive a notice of death (cleric, spouse or widow)

* This notice may come from next of kin, the parish of the deceased, another Diocesan Office (if cleric was living outside the Diocese) or from our Chaplain to the Retired and Widows, Fr. Lloyd Winter.

A. These calls or messages should be directed to the Executive Assistant to the Bishop.

B. The following information should be collected (if the Executive Assistant to the Bishop is unavailable – out sick, on vacation, etc – the information should be collected and delivered to the Executive Assistant to the Bishop if s/he will be back within 24 hours. – if not see Special Circumstances below):

1) Name of deceased
2) Date of death
3) Contact person and their information (email and phone number)
4) Information regarding any arrangements for services, etc. if they have already been made.


II. The day the notice is received by our offices…

A. The Bishop should be notified so that he may contact the family and offer comfort.

*If the deceased is a sitting rector, the Bishop will have direct involvement in providing pastoral care and services to the congregation and family, including making arrangements for burial services, etc.

B. The Bishop of the diocese where a cleric is canonically resident should be notified.

C. Church Pension Group (CPG) needs to be contacted so that benefits can get to the survivors.

D. Chaplain to the Retired, in order for him to offer comfort to the family, arrange a visit (if in another Diocese, contacts Chaplain there to arrange a visit) and review what support is available from Diocese and CPG.  Also, he works with whoever is to send out the notice.


III. The Diocesan Community (via our diocesan mailing lists) should be notified.
A. If arrangements for services have not been made or there is a delay in making arrangements the announcement should read “arrangements pending.”
B. If arrangements have been made, details of the service(s) should be included in the announcement.


Assignments for Steps:

A. Executive Assistant receives (Receptionist or others may get the call, which should be forwarded to EA).

B. Executive Assistant notifies Bishop, and Bishop makes contact with family.

C. Executive Assistant notifies Bishop of other diocese, if necessary.

D. Executive Assistant gives information to benefits administrator so s/he may contact CPG.

E. Executive Assistant notifies Chaplain to the Retired and Widows (if the chaplain was not the one to inform our offices of the death), and receives input for drafting the announcement.

F. Executive Assistant drafts announcement and forwards to Communications for distribution.


Special Circumstances

There will be occasions when the Executive Assistant to the Bishop is 1) on vacation, on leave, etc or 2) the offices are closed (over Christmas holiday, for instance) when we will all need to know the procedure and share information so that the process is executed without delay.

In the event of #1 above, the Receptionist should perform all assignments outlined for the Executive Assistant.

In the event of #2 above, the Director of Communications shall perform all assignments outlined for the Executive Assistant.

For either #1 or #2 above, the Executive Assistant should include instructions for how to make contact with the appropriate person in voicemail greetings and automatic email responses for those who may be calling or emailing to report a death.