What Are African-American Funeral Resolutions?

In many African-American churches, the funeral resolve constitutes a rite of passage. Usually a solemn and reverent portion of the ceremony, it may be given by a member of the clergy, a member of the family, or a close friend. Typically, the resolution includes the individual’s name, an introduction of his or her beliefs, “whereas” comments about the individual, “hence” statements or resolutions, and a conclusion.

A resolution is a written composition that is typically recited during the funeral service and maintained by the deceased’s family. In accordance with custom, the title of the resolution begins with “Resolution in loving remembrance of…” The following introduction of faith part acknowledges that the dead was a devout individual.

The “because” sentences make up the longest section of the resolution and include characteristics of the individual as well as Bible quotations. Because clauses may consume up to two pages of the resolution. They are an occasion to honour the individual’s relationship with God, service to the church, contributions to the community, and love for family. They are also the proper venue to recognise the individual’s most significant achievements.

Typically, the resolution includes “hence” statements, also known as funeral resolutions, that advise the congregation on how they should deal with the death. This section should describe the nature of the resolution, the parties involved, and when, where, and how it will be implemented. These resolutions may specify a period of mourning or request congregational solidarity for the family of the deceased.

The resolution concludes with a formal conclusion that may include a Bible verse or the phrase “Respectfully presented by.”


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