Celebrations of Life

A Funeral or Memorial Service should accomplish three things: acknowledge the family’s grief through words of comfort and assurance; provide a time and space to share memories of the one who has died; and provide a message of hope that in Christ all things are made new, and that death is the doorway to new life for those we have lost and for ourselves.

In the tradition of The United Church of Christ, a funeral/memorial service is considered a celebration: a celebration of life and a celebration of faith. Through private pastoral care and the service of worship itself, we aim to be sensitive to your needs, desires, and feelings. In our role as a community church, ongoing pastoral care will be provided to church members through our Stephen Ministry Program and is available to non-members as we are able.

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Celebrations of Life

For Christians, death signifies a transition, not an ending. Maintaining the delicate balance between joy and sorrow requires sensitivity and compassion. Our goal is to affirm the sense of loss family and friends feel during this time, while planting the seeds of hope that will lead to healing and wholeness. Like birth, death is one of life’s most hallowed moments. Let us honor it together with reverence and peace.

The Deacons have established the following policies and guidelines concerning funerals and memorial services:


Presiding Clergy

It is understood that the presiding Pastor(s) of the United Church of Christ in Keene will conduct the funeral/memorial service ceremony. If the family would like a family member or friend who is an ordained clergy person to assist with the service, that individual should contact the pastor at the time arrangements are being made to coordinate that involvement. In accordance with the custom and practice of the United Church of Christ, former pastors may not perform a funeral or memorial service in the Church.



For over almost two centuries, our Church building has occupied a place of prominence at the Head of the Square in downtown Keene. Our facilities include our magnificent historic sanctuary, plus a small chapel.

The interior of the sanctuary has three aisles and four seating sections that will accommodate approximately 650 adults. Meeting and worship spaces are accessible by elevator, and accessible restrooms are available for those with disabilities.

The church parlor is available for receptions by prior arrangement. It can accommodate up to 150 guests. Please note, this space is well used and not always available. The Church’s Women’s Fellowship can provide light refreshments (for a fee), you may bring food, or a caterer of your choice may be used. In the event the family organizes the reception, a set up and clean up fees may be charged for non-members.


Funeral Homes

The Church has longstanding relationships with local area Funeral Homes. If you are using another licensed facility, its staff should call the Church as soon as possible to begin the planning process.



The church has an amplification system, a magnificent organ, and a grand piano. Typically, families use the Church’s amazing Organist and Music Director, Beverly Caldon, for the service. All arrangements pertaining to music should be made directly with her as soon as possible. Beverly will guide you to soloists if you would like one included. Non-paid soloists should arrange a time to rehearse with the organist or pianist prior to the service. Any outside organist must coordinate with our Music Director before the wedding to receive instructions on the use of the organ. A separate fee of $100.00 should be paid to Ms. Caldon for this training time.

The church uses Hymns for a Pilgrim People as its hymnal. If congregational hymns from other sources are chosen, the family should discuss these selections with the organist and arrange for their inclusion as inserts in the program.



The Church now has the capability to livestream your service and provide you with a Facebook link to replay it at your convenience. Our new system includes four camera angles. Please let Pastor Cindy know early in the planning process if you are considering this option.



We are more than happy to work with a florist of your choice and will make the church available for planning and set up provided we have ample notification. If you plan to leave flowers in the church after the ceremony, we ask that you let us know ahead of time so we may include an acknowledgement of your generosity in our Sunday Bulletin.



Arrangements for the burial of a coffin or ashes at one of the local cemeteries should be made privately through your funeral/memorial service director, or by contacting the City Office in charge of these properties. Please let us know if you would like the Pastor to preside at the cemetery.

Honoraria to the Church and Staff:

Fees to individual staff members and special participants should be made payable to those individuals and distributed on the day of the service. Building Rental fees should be made payable to The United Church of Christ in Keene. If fees are paid through a licensed Funeral Home, checks should be delivered on the day of the service. Our Office Administrator, Julie White, can assist with any questions you may have in this regard.


Suggestions for Honoraria


  • Active Members*: No Charge
  • Inactive or Non-Members: $250.00
  • Checks made payable to Rev. Cynthia E. Bagley


  • Active Members*: $250.00
  • Inactive or Non-Members: $250.00
  • Checks made payable to Beverly Caldon


  • Active Members*: $200.00
  • Inactive or Non-Members: $200.00
  • Checks made payable to the individual in question


  • Active Members*: $150.00
  • Inactive or Non-Members: $150.00
  • Checks made payable to the individual in question

Livestream Video

  • Active Members*: $150.00
  • Inactive or Non-Members: $150.00

Building Rental

  • Active Members*: No Charge
  • Inactive or Non-Members: $150.00
  • Checks made payable to The United Church of Christ in Keene


  • Negotiated directly with our Women’s Fellowship

*Active members are those individuals who meet the following criteria: have been officially received into the membership of the church, attend church regularly, support the church financially and/or actively support the programs and missions of the church. At the discretion of the Deacons, “Friends of the Church,” i.e. Active Non-Members, can be granted member status with regard to costs.


Contact Information

Please know we are truly sorry for your loss. Our role is to make this time as comforting and stress-free as possible. May the peace and hope found in Jesus Christ be with you during this difficult time.

Get Started

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we will contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.