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Chaplain Joe or Reverend Erica at your service! Funerals & Weddings by appt

Opening at 9:00 AM
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Reverend Erica supporting the veterans and their spouses at Riverside National Cemetery.


9 months ago
I cannot express in words the amount of gratitude I feel for Chaplain Joe Andersen but I will do my best to express that here. Chaplain Joe assisted us with the arrangements and funeral of our Uncle Patrick Micheal Murphy. We are from out of state and thought it would be very difficult to arrange this from so far away. Chaplain Joe took over and assisted us in a kind, compassionate and professional manner. He made sure our uncle received military honors, a traditional Irish send off, beautifully played bag pipes, and the most honorable and respectful burial a Vietnam Veteran truly deserves. He treated us with compassion, respect, professionalism and grace. He made sure all of our questions and concerns were handle professionally and with great care. We felt completely confident in his ability to perform all tasks necessary for a truly beautiful send off for our uncle. In short, he was a true blessing to our family. He truly cares for those he serves.I would highly recommend using C...
- Lisa J
10 months ago
Chaplain Joe did our wedding in 11/18 and the service was amazing we chose to do a small ceremony outdoors and his voice is perfect, carried for everyone to hear. Very easy to work with and took the worry out of the day. Everything was well communicated ahead of time and all expectations were surpassed. We love Joe and his wife Erica they both made the day memorable. This year we had Chaplain Joe do the services for my grandpa who passed, he was a navy veteran. Chaplain Joe was again amazing. Communication was impeccable and his recommendations for the bagpiper was perfect. My grandmother was very pleased and was happy to not have to stress about the ceremony in the hard time. Joe's knowledge and coaching in the order of the day made everything easy, even at the busiest military cemetery in the country. Five star service, very professional and the best we could have for both occasions. I highly recommend
- Andrew R
a month ago
Chaplin Joseph Andersen, a.k.a. Chaplin Joe, was absolutely amazing presiding over my mother-in-law‘s funeral services/celebration of life. He brought a peaceful, calming, and caring environment, as we grieved over our loss. Chaplin Joe was very respectful, professional, and compassionate, and really touch the hearts of our family and friends. Prior to our service, z at Chaplin Joe recommended some ideas for the service, such as a butterfly release and recommended some scriptures that we might want to use in the service. We decided on releasing live butterflies, which was a blessing in itself. He also provided us with some eulogy ideas, which was a tremendous help. During the ceremony, Chaplin Joe was able to get family and friends involved by providing an opportunity for everyone to say their goodbyes and say a few words about our loved one. This was a very special moment, which seem to lift our grieving hearts. Chaplin Joe even took a few photos, which I wasn’t aware of and sent t...
- Mike B

Former RNC Employee-Chaplain Services

Regarding funerals:

Dear friends & families,

May I extend to you my sincerest condolences for the loss of your loved one & I look forward to being of service to you & your family.  I’d like to introduce myself, as a Chaplain, I've been officiating Military Memorial Services at Riverside National Cemetery, Miramar National Cemetery, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and many local Southern California Cemeteries since 2006. Plus I worked for the VA at the local National Cemetery for 8 years. And, on a side note, I have also been officiating weddings since 2006. I'm available to conduct Memorial Services for those who are in need of a Chaplain, providing a service that is personalized to reflect the personality & lifestyle of the deceased. I serve all military branches and all religious beliefs. Officiating Memorial Services is my primary function, but the Spiritual Support of the Bereaved is my utmost Concern. I also offer house blessings & cleansings.  I’ve had the pleasure to work with many southern California Mortuaries, and I would be honored to serve the families in your care. I am available to assist families in the preparation of Memorials and with the protocol of the Riverside National Cemetery and the Honor Guard Detail. When I worked for the National, one of my jobs was to oversea the volunteers there. And, still to this day, I volunteer my time there with the Honor Guard Detail and with the staff. The Riverside National Cemetery is the largest & busiest National Cemetery in the United States & services are on a strict timeline. I have structured my services to include the basic elements of a Memorial Service within the time allotted & I do my best to honor your loved one. I extend you my sincerest condolences and pray the lord comforts you with his peace.

My wife also is Clergy, in fact, she is the only female Reverend in Southern California serving Riverside National Cemetery/Miramar National Cemetery. You can hire me or my wife Reverend Erica. (see letter below). We are both first come, first serve. Thanks for reading and God Bless.

Chaplain Joe Andersen, USN Ret
(951) 757-5875 (phone/text) (email)
Dear Families & Friends,

Let me introduce myself. I am Chaplain Joe's wife of 27 years and counting. At several of my husband commands, I was also the Navy Ombudsman (liaison between the commands and the families). I also served at Activities Coordinator who planned events for the spouses and children at those commands. Having been a military spouse myself all those years, I thrive at being the best choice for your clergy needs. I am a Minister but I prefer to identify as a Reverend. I am here to serve your family at your Veteran or Spouse committal service. I also know all the staff at Riverside National Cemetery as my husband worked there for many years after retiring from the Navy in 2010. I know their procedures as well. I will give your loved one a proper "God & Country" service that I think they deserve. And, I am the only female clergy in the area. If you are seeking an Officiant for a wedding, you won't be disappointed hiring my husband Chaplain Joe.  I look forward in hearing from you.

Reverend Erica Andersen
(951) 757-5232 

A Eulogy is an expression of praise given in memory of someone who has died, which is usually delivered at a funeral or memorial service. It's an opportunity to record, celebrate & bring that person to life for just one more time, and it is a tremendous gift to the grieving family. The most effective Eulogies share memories of the deceased giving you insight & information about somebody’s life, that maybe you weren’t aware of.  

***Please submit to me your loved ones Eulogy in the form of an email (or attach a Microsoft Word document, I also can use a PDF). I will need a short Eulogy (2-3 paragraphs) of your loved one emailed to me at at least 24 hours before the day of the service at: Please write this in 3rd person because this IS something I SHARE during the service. And, your loved one isn’t my family. Please don’t use “I”, say Mom or Dad was…. Please include where they were born, parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, etc. Tell me where they went to school, when they joined the military, where went they met their spouse, what jobs they held after the military. Where they moved to and when the children were born. Maybe a favorite movie, food, hobby, sports teams, funny thing that always happened or something that they always said. Everyone would love to hear something that makes them laugh not cry. And, sadly when your loved one went to heaven to be with (other family who have passed).
Check out a chapel urn ⚱️ service here...
Regarding Weddings:

Hello & congratulations on your upcoming wedding! *My name is Chaplain Joe Andersen. I have been officiating weddings throughout Southern California for more than 15 years. If you are searching for the perfect officiant for your wedding, I would be honored to meet with you & help you put together the perfect ceremony for your special day!    

 About Chaplain Joe *As a non-denominational Christian minister, I have had the honor of marrying loving couples throughout the Southern California area for more than 15 years. Although Christian in faith, I understand that everyone comes from different backgrounds and different faiths. Because of this, I officiate weddings in all styles, religious or non-religious. Whatever your faith we can work together to find you the perfect ceremony. I served 20 years in the United States Navy, then continue to serve Southern California doing weddings and funerals after I retired. 

My wife and I settled in Lake Elsinore in 2003 and we absolutely love it here! In our free time we like to try new restaurants in the IE and take rides on our Harley Davidson motorcycle with our fur children “Sir Benjamin Waffles & Madame Presley Pancakes” in the sidecar. You can often find the 4 of us riding around the local area exploring. My wife is also a Minister and can provide services as well.

What makes me different from all of the other officiants? *I have learned over the years that the ceremony really does set the tone for the rest of the day.  My goal is to create a ceremony that is a total reflection of you both - your personalities, values, and beliefs. I always conduct a personal interview with the couples I work with to make sure I have the background I need to create a very unique and memorable ceremony.  While this seems like something every officiant would do, you would be surprised to find that it's not always the case.  Some officiants will simply offer you a selection of pre-written templates and ask you to choose the one you like best.  Then they simply swap in your names. I am a Veteran and also want to offer the best Military ceremonies one can offer. I like to offer my couples many different opportunities like the share of wine, sharing of sand which is especially nice if you are combining families with children who all participate together, gender reveals, and many other extras that no other officiant offers. Plus if you are a fan of "Elvis", I can do your wedding dressed like him.

Do you officiate same sex ceremonies?*Yes, I do! My personal belief is that love is just as strong and meaningful whether between opposite-sex couples or same-sex couples, and everyone should be afforded the same rights and privileges of marriage. And I am happy that the State of California agrees! 

Can we choose a non-religious ceremony? *Yes! Your wedding ceremony should be centered around your love for each other & your own personal set of beliefs. We can tailor a ceremony for you that is beautiful and meaningful, whether religious or non. 

We come from different religious backgrounds. Do you have experience with interfaith wedding ceremonies? *I have been asked this very question many times in the past, and the answer is yes! I will work with you both to create a ceremony that encompasses both of your beliefs and blends the entire ceremony together as one beautiful reflection of you both. 

Can we read the ceremony first? *Of course! Some couples prefer to go into the ceremony not having seen the entire ceremony, while others like to read through it entirely to be sure it is exactly the way they pictured it. The choice is yours!  

Should we bring you the marriage license before the wedding date?  *While it is best to complete the marriage license before the ceremony, you may want to get with your photographer to decide if you want formal pictures of me signing your marriage license on the day of the wedding. If so, it has been my experience that it is better to take care of this before the ceremony, as you are going to be very busy after I pronounce you husband and wife! 

Officiant Service/What you’ll get. 
A formal details meeting with you both to learn more about you and discuss your ideas for the ceremony. This meeting is typically about 1 hour & can be done face-to-face or via Zoom/Video Messenger/FaceTime for out-of-town couples. 
–Close cooperation with your vendors (photographers, DJ, wedding coordinator, etc.) I will coordinate at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony so that they all know exactly what is going to happen during the ceremony, and when. 
Professionally officiate your wedding– What about the rehearsal?  It is my belief that being at your rehearsal is just as beneficial to me as it is to you, and so I always try to be at every rehearsal. 

Discounts I do offer discounts for the following:  *Active Duty Military & Active Reserve AND Weddings taking place Monday through Thursday (holidays excluded)  

Officiant fees range from $400-$800* depending on the circumstances. Additional travel fees will apply for weddings taking place more than 25 miles from zip code 92530. * holiday rates apply for certain major holidays.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve your families during this very special time in your lives. As you can see in my ratings, I have helped many couples come together in holy matrimony. I can serve in San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Orange County.


Riverside National Cemetery,  22495 Van Buren Blvd. Riverside, CA 92518(951) 653-8417    

Miramar National Cemetery, 5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego, CA 92122(858) 658-7360    

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, 1700 Cabrillo Memorial Dr., San Diego, CA 92106-(858) 658-7360    

Recommended BAGPIPER-Darrell Calvillo     
(626) 826-0381 (card in gallery)    

Recommended FLORIST/FLOWERS-Van Buren Florist Alissa (Mention Chaplain Joe for Discount on all flowers) (951) 789-6275
*ARRIVING AT RIVERSIDE NATIONAL CEMETERY  Daily Burial Schedule to confirm your service Staging Areas are in the back, Cortage #1-8  Information Booth or Billboard will tell you where your family should line up.  

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  • (951) 757-5875

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Mon:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tue:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wed:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thu:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Fri:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sat:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sun:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
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