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Memorial Services


Memorial services are suspended until further notice at Memorial Church in compliance with the March 3, 2020 Stanford University Environmental Health and Safety recommendation limiting large gatherings. 


The Office for Religious Life provides religious and spiritual care for the Stanford University campus community.  When our community loses a valued member, the Office for Religious Life is available to lead memorial services. At the request of a family member, department, or office of the university, the Office for Religious Life staff will plan and officiate a memorial service on campus.

Our primary responsibility is to our students and the larger Stanford University campus community.  We are therefore unable to accommodate the requests of all who have an affection for and connection to Stanford University.


The following people are eligible to be memorialized at Stanford University Memorial Church:

  • Current Stanford students, faculty, staff and alumni, their children or spouse/partners
  • Current and former trustees of the university, their children or spouse/partners
  • Retired Stanford faculty and staff or former Stanford University employees with at least five years of service and a sustained connection to the University.
  • Long-standing congregants at University Public Worship known to the Office for Religious Life clergy.
  • Members of the Catholic Community, known to the Catholic campus clergy


Memorial services are requested by a family member, a university department or office or student group by completing the online form found below.

The Office for Religious Life clergy plans and officiates all memorial services held in Stanford Memorial Church. The religious sensibilities of the person who died will be taken into consideration in determining which Office for Religious Life clergy will be assigned to the memorial.  The Stanford officiant may invite outside clergy to offer a prayer or a reading at the memorial service.


Services can be scheduled on Monday through Thursday afternoons.  The church is not available for memorials on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays or during University holidays and winter closure.

Memorial services usually take place no earlier than three weeks following a death and, in most cases, several months later.

By university charter, funerals are not allowed in Stanford Memorial Church nor can caskets or urns be present at the memorial.

Once eligibility, date and the officiating Office for Religious Life clergy are determined, family members and the sponsoring departmental representatives will meet with the designated officiant to plan the memorial.  Usually in the same visit, the administrator who oversees logistics for the service will initiate discussion about parking, accessibility, expected attendance, flowers, etc.


We work with families to craft a meaningful service that includes readings, reflections and music appropriate for the person who has died and their family.

We generally ask families to invite 3-5 people to offer reflections or testimonies on the life of the person who has died. Each reflection should be 3-5 minutes in length.

Memorial services are conducted for one hour in length and follow an order of service for the remembrance and celebration of life.

This order includes some or all of the following:

  • Musical Prelude
  • Welcome
  • Opening Prayer or Statement
  • Reading
  • Reflections from Family, Friends, Colleagues
  • Reading or Musical Interlude
  • Reflections from Family, Friends, Colleagues
  • Musical Interlude
  • Reflections from Family, Friends, Colleagues
  • Commendation and Closing Benediction
  • Musical Postlude

Music is determined in collaboration with the University Organist, Robert Huw Morgan. Classical-style music, or music from an established religious tradition, is most often played at memorial services in Memorial Church.

Most families, departments, and offices choose to include a printed bulletin or service program which will be designed and printed by the Office for Religious Life in collaboration with the family.

The Office for Religious Life is able to create an audio file of the memorial as a memory of the event.


Stanford Memorial Church does not have space for receptions.  Arrangements for receptions are the responsibility of the family, Stanford office or department.  Many families choose to work with the Stanford Faculty Club for receptions.

For any questions or inquiries, please call the Office for Religious Life at (650) 723-1762.


    1. Church Use: 
    $1200 via credit card link here (
    2. Organist honorarium:   
    $300 via Check (Payable directly to the organist OR Stanford University as directed by the memorial service coordinator)
    3. Clergy honorarium:        
    $300 via Check (Payable directly to clergy)

    Other fees may apply if special arrangements need to be made including, but not limited to reserved parking, shuttles, or special equipment.
    There are no fees for Stanford students or current congregants.
    Families and/or departments may arrange with a local florist for flowers to be delivered for the service.

    Learn more  Frequently Asked Questions here.