By Clinton Martin
The Amish have cheap funerals. The local funeral home, Furman’s, which conducts about 75% of Lancaster County Amish services quoted the average cost of an Amish funeral as $3,600. Anyone who’s ever planned an “English” – non-Amish – funeral can attest to the fact that this figure is considerably less than a mainstream service.
Why? Well, the service is no less respectful, dignified, important, and full of custom and emotion. But, the Amish community’s customs are such that the funeral home simply has much less to do. And thus, the cost is lower. So, while the Amish have cheap funerals, they are far from hasty or careless.
Everyone in the church district (essentially a geographic area containing about 20 Amish families) gets involved. They do chores for the family who has lost a loved one. They cook, clean, and rally around them with a lot of help. The Amish dig the grave themselves – it is considered a matter of respect and familial love that the young men do the digging. Pallbearers (usually grandsons) lower the coffin down into the grave and close the rough pine box around it.
From the time of the phone call to Furman’s to the viewing, only about six hours go by. In the Amish community, there is a lot of pressure to complete the process very quickly.