We know preparing for a funeral can be a really rough time. The aim of this page is to try and help you to come through it as best as possible, emotionally and spiritually. We will try our best to help.
Christians understand the grief of loss, but Christians also believe there is life beyond the mortal. This belief is one of the core foundations of Christianity, one which gives Christians a sense of hope even when, perhaps especially when, things seem hope-less.
Do have a look at the Church of England Funerals website, it has a wealth of information. Just click on the pictures below:
When someone dies there are so many emotions, so many things to do and it can be very difficult to focus on how to do things in the right way. Some things have to happen within a fairly tight time scale and the Funeral Director will be best equipped to help you through all the legalities.
Normally the Funeral Director will give the Vicar a contact name, address and phone number. It is the practice at the Abbey to try to follow up as soon as possible, but sometimes, for various reasons contact cannot easily be made. If you have not heard from him within 48 hours please call the Abbey Office at 01743 – 232723 or email the Vicar at email@example.com (please note, that unless there is an emergency, the Vicar tries to take Friday off).
It is the
practice of the Vicar to make an appointment to come and see you
if this is at all possible. Please feel free to ask anyone else
to come to this meeting .
the Abbey or St. Peter’s,
Emstrey Crematorium, or
Longden Road Cemetery Chapel (Old Cemetery).
It is possible to have a full service at either church followed by a short committal at the Crematorium or Interment at the Cemetery. In the case of a full Church service followed by cremation some families decide not to go to the Crematorium.
Another way (less common in urban areas), is to have a family-only cremation followed by an open-invitation memorial service in the Church. The benefit of this is that the family can meet with their guests immediately after the main service. In all instances the Funeral Director will arrange times and places with the Vicar and with the family.
While this can occasionally be quite difficult to arrange, in most cases it is not a complex matter. First of all, no funeral can take place before all the relevant legalities are completed. Please follow the guidance of your Funeral Director in this. Different Funeral Directors have different ways of arranging the times, but for the most part they will agree to a time mutually convenient to the family, themselves, and the Vicar.
Choosing a time at the Crematorium
can sometimes be frustrating because there are only so many
time-slots. If you really want a particular time, it might be
easier to have a service in the Church, where there is less
constraint on timing.
Normally most services will be conducted by the Vicar. He is very open to sharing the leadership of the service with other people particularly where there is a family connection. No service can be conducted in either Church or Churchyard without the express permission of the Vicar or the Churchwardens.
Unfortunately, there are occasions when a family have very special reasons for choosing a particular time and day only to find the Vicar already has a prior engagement. Where this is the case, the Funeral Director and Vicar together will seek a minister to conduct the service for you. This minister will then deal with all the practical arrangements relating to the service.
Put simply, every single Funeral Service is different. Normally the Vicar will work on a standard framework which can then be adjusted to make the service personal.
A service can contain some or all of the following:
Moments of Silence
This list is not exhaustive. If in doubt, the Golden Rule is to keep it simple and dignified.
Taking a deeper look at some of these components:
Music: This can include music wile entering and exiting, hymns, and a reflective or personal piece during the service. It is important, however, not to make a service too long, especially at the Crematorium where time is a factor. When it comes to hymns the best policy is to choose one or two (at most three) which are well known and singable. If you choose to use a pre-recorded item, please talk to the Funeral Director or Vicar about this as early as possible. Both the Abbey and the Crematorium have their own music systems.
Prayer: The number and length of prayers is largely up to the family, but we encourage you to keep in mind that there will be a moment of silence. Normally, prayers will end with the traditional Lord’s Prayer. The Vicar is more than happy to share the leadership of this part of the service or to read out special prayers on behalf of the family.
Silence: There will always be a short time of quiet for people to say their own prayers, or simply reflect in silence. If you would prefer a longer time of quiet reflection please talk to the Vicar.
Spoken Tributes: Please discuss this with the Vicar. It is quite common (but not an obligation) for someone — a friend, family, or colleague — to say a few words at a Funeral Service. If you would like this, please liaise with the Vicar, who will help with issues such as content and length. If you would really like to say something but feel you couldn’t stand up and say it yourself, please consider writing something for the Vicar to say. Sadly, in most urban parishes, the Vicar will not know the deceased — either well or possibly at all. It can be very meaningful if someone who does know the deceased can help him with this part of the service. We recommend any ‘Tributes’ are written out in full. A good suggestion is no more than 1 side of A4 paper typed size 12 and then double-space it for ease of reading.
Readings: It is part of a Church of England service to have at least one reading from the Bible. If you have any requests of passages, please discuss it with the Vicar, otherwise, the Vicar is happy to choose and read a selection. In addition, please feel free to ask the Vicar to include any other items of prose or poetry. Again, please consider how this will affect the overall length of the service.
All the above will be woven into the service to make it unique and personal.
Again, if in doubt, the Golden Rule is – keep it simple and dignified.
Service Sheets: These are becoming more popular, especially if you choose hymns from more than one book. They can also be a keepsake in your own ‘family archives’. They are not obligatory. The Vicar can arrange for these for a very small additional fee, or else talk to the Funeral Director.
Refreshments: It is a very common practice for the family to put on a ‘bit of a spread’ afterwards. If this is to be an open invitation to any mourner, please tell the Vicar who will be pleased to announce this at the service.
Collections: It is also a very common practice to take a collection in memory of the deceased to be donated to a charitable concern. Collections at the Crematorium or Cemeteries will be accounted to you by the Funeral Directors. Please remember however that any collection taken in either Church ‘technically’ belongs to the Church and you should discuss beforehand with the Vicar any wish for all or part of such a collection to be disbursed to a third party. If the recipient of the collection is to be the church or another registered charity it is well worth considering ‘Gift Aid’. Again, talk to the Vicar about this.
Fees: Unless agreement is made to the contrary the Statutory and Local Fees due to the Church will be paid to the Church by the Funeral Director who will invoice you accordingly. If you request another minister – for family or personal reasons – to lead the service, all Statutory Fees due to the Vicar and to the Parochial Church Council (PCC) will still need to be settled.
Children at Services: People of all ages are welcome. The Vicar works on the basis that a child old enough to say ‘nana’ is well old enough to come, but any decision on this rests with the parents. Please note both Churches do have toilets on site although at St. Peter’s these are available in the Church Hall.
Flowers: These are a very common part of the tribute. Sometimes people ask for ‘Family Flowers only’, other times it is right and proper to allow anyone to bring flowers. Please do think about what you might do with the flowers at the end of the service. Some people simply leave all the floral tributes at the Crematorium, others like to distribute them between family graves, hospitals, residential homes or ask for them to be displayed in the church. Flowers don’t last though, please talk to the Vicar if you would prefer a more permanent ‘memorial’.
Burial of Ashes at a later date: This will be by arrangement between you, the Funeral Director and the Vicar.
Stone Memorials: These are subject to incredibly strict guidelines. If you require a Stone Memorial Tablet at the Crematorium or at the Cemetery, please discuss this with the Funeral Director in the first instance.
In addition to the donations mentioned above some people
like to think of something more permanent than flowers. At both
Churches it is possible to donate towards things such as Pew
Bibles which would be suitably inscribed and there are other
things, both in the church and in the wider community, which
might be considered as a much more lasting memorial than flowers
– Again, talk to the Vicar about this .
A Funeral will not be an easy time, but it should be a fitting tribute and quite properly a celebration of a life.
Please feel free to discuss any matter about a Funeral Service with the Funeral Director or with me.
I hope this guide and the following prayers and readings have been of help.
The following are
drawn from a multitude of sources
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Lighten our hearts with the bright beams
a rebellious people, you did not abandon us to our sin.
mercy and justice.
to live with you now and for ever. Amen.
And may there be
no moaning of the bar,
When that which drew from out
the boundless deep
And may be there
no sadness of farewell,
For tho’ from out our bourne
of Time and Place
I hope to see my Pilot face to face,
into the next room.
solemnity or sorrow,
I am waiting for you,
For an interval,
that I might achieve.
He gave me weakness
that I might learn obedience.
that I might do great things.
He gave me sickness
that I might do better things.
that I might be happy.
He gave me poverty
that I might be wise.
that I might have glory.
He gave me weakness
that I might depend on God.
that I might enjoy life.
He gave me life
that I might enjoy things.
But all I hoped for.
I am rich; I am happy.
My prayer is answered.
Amongst all people
I am blessed.
All their life in this world
had only been the cover and the title page.
Now at last they were
beginning Chapter One
of the Great Story
which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever.
M. Louise Haskins
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:
During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
May the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and for ever more. Amen.
Joyce Grenfell 1910-1979