There are many Protestant denominations, including Baptist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Presbyterian. Traditional Protestant funeral ceremonies (of any denomination) are preceded by a visitation period of a day or
two, at which the deceased's body may not be present, or may be present in either an open or closed casket. In more modern practice, a visitation is held on the same day as the funeral or dispensed with completely.
A distinguishing feature of all Protestant funeral services is their flexibility, which can make planning and predicting them a bit difficult. Typically, a Protestant pastor, minister, or other religious leader, after consulting with family members, will tailor a funeral service to the individual who died rather than following a prescribed order.
The service may be conducted at a church, a funeral home, or the graveside,typically within three days after the death. The components focus on celebrating the life of the deceased and often emphasize the Christian belief in everlasting life and transitioning to it. The whole congregation or only those particularly close to the family may be invited to attend.
Most Protestant services include prayers, eulogies, a sermon, and Biblical scripture readings. Music and hymns are commonly interspersed throughout the services; and soloists and instrumentalists are encouraged. Flowers, thought to symbolize the resurrection of the Lord, are commonly present. There is no proscription against cremation; the deceased's body may be disposed of according to individual or family wishes.
A final gathering is usually hosted at the church or in the home of a friend or family member. It typically occurs directly after the committal or funeral service. It's customary for those attending to contribute to the food served there.