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Providing Families with Comfort, Hope, and Encouragement

As Lead Pastor at Southview Christian Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, Pastor Kerry O’Bryant offers spiritual leadership to members of his congregation, conducts worship services, and oversees many other business aspects at the church.

As Lead Pastor at Southview Christian Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, Pastor Kerry O’Bryant offers spiritual leadership to members of his congregation, conducts worship services, and oversees many other business aspects at the church. In addition to these responsibilities, Pastor Kerry has another very important role: he provides comfort, hope, and encouragement to families who have lost a loved one, no matter if they are members of his congregation or if he is meeting them for the very first time.

For over 20 years, Pastor Kerry has been helping families grieve and honor their loved ones as he officiates funeral services for Roper & Sons Funeral Home and funeral homes throughout Lincoln. He understands how emotionally difficult this time can be for families as they make funeral arrangements.

Getting to Know the Family

When Pastor Kerry is called to officiate a funeral service for a member of his congregation, he knows who they are and he feels comfortable talking with them about the funeral arrangements.  Oftentimes, Pastor Kerry doesn’t know the deceased and must rely on family members to share with him the uniqueness of their loved one. One way he gets through the awkwardness of not knowing their loved one is to get them talking about that person. Pastor Kerry finds that if they can tell him who their mom or grandpa was and laugh about them, that helps him establish a rapport with the family pretty quickly and helps to break down the barriers people have when talking to someone they don’t know. 

Things Pastor Kerry appreciates hearing about include:

  • Distinctive qualities about their loved one
  • Funny stories that capture the essence of that person
  • Things family and friends are always going to remember
  • Music they loved 
  • Activities they enjoyed doing

Another suggestion Pastor Kerry offers families is to make their funeral service special, that it would be what their loved one would want. For example, if their loved one enjoyed a genre of music that isn’t traditionally expected at a funeral service, don’t be afraid to go with the music they loved. Sometimes the unexpected is what allows families to celebrate the life of their loved one.

Traditional Service or Celebration of Life?

Families have options when it comes to planning funeral services at Roper & Sons Funeral Home, from Traditional Services, to Memorials, to a Celebration of Life. For clergy, they are always going to offer words of comfort, hope, and encouragement at every service. This may take on a different form with each person, says Pastor Kerry, and he tries to tailor it to that person. 

Pastor Kerry notes that about 15% of services he officiates are for families who choose a Celebration of Life for their loved one. He has been able to adapt to these trends by putting himself in the shoes of the people he is visiting with, be empathetic, and hear and understand them. He knows that everyone grieves in their own way. Everyone celebrates in their own way. He can help them by being open-minded and meet the families where they are at.

Roper & Sons Funeral Home is grateful to Pastor Kerry O’Bryant for his compassion and understanding when working with families at a difficult time in their lives.


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