THANKS FOR Julie Polter's excellent article about the high cost of funerals ("We All Have to Die," May-June 2000). Congregations can and should guide their members away from these traps.
The Friends Meeting in Yellow Springs, Ohio, has been doing it for 50 years. For those who choose to use the Meeting's service, the body is picked up by volunteers and transported to the crematory. The container is a stout corrugated cardboard box made for the purpose. No mortician is involved. The Meeting then organizes an appropriate memorial service. The last one cost the family a total of $242.50.
Local congregations of Unitarians and Mennonites have instituted the same program. Any church can do it. Every pastor and Meeting clerk should have a copy of Ernest and Jenifer Morgan's Dealing Creatively With Death: A Manual of Death Education and Simple Burial (Barclay House Books, 1998).
Those who choose to spend a fortune on a funeral can always do so. We believe money should be spent to benefit the living.