Grace Bible Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, will offer an alternative to church-based worship services and will allow for open-casket funerals.
Grace Bible will become the first church in the state of North Carolina to offer open-ceremony services.
“I am proud to have a new church that will be the first to offer funeral services to those who choose to attend a funeral service, instead of relying on clergy, a casket, or a cemetery,” Pastor Michael Darnell said in a statement.
“Our new service will allow those who are not ready to attend funerals to attend the service in peace and dignity, and I am proud of that.”
The service will take place at the new church, Grace Bible Chapel, on March 18.
Grace is the largest church in Charlotte.
The congregation was originally formed in 1996 and has about 2,500 members.
It was founded by pastor Billy Graham and his wife, Barbara, with help from members of the church’s board.
The church’s current leader, Pastor Mike Darnel, said the move was a response to the church becoming more religious and the growing demand for open casket funeraries.
“We have always believed in open caskets, we’ve always believed that you shouldn’t have a casket, you shouldn’t be put to sleep, you should’nt be taken to a grave,” he said.
“I think this new service is the right way for people to go to heaven.”
The church is a popular place for funerals in the North Carolina area, where churchgoers often turn up for the funerals at the Grace Chapel.
The chapel has an open crescent tombstone that can be removed, but many funeral homes refuse to allow it.
The Grace Chapel is not the first large church in North Carolina with open cemeteries.
The Charlotte Church of Christ in Chapel Hill has opened an open-heart cemetery for its deceased.
The Chapel Hill Chapel of Christ is not affiliated with the Grace Bible church.
The church has an opening ceremony on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the church.