A funeral marks the close of a human life on earth. It is the opportunity for friends and family to express their grief, to give thanks for the life which has now completed its journey in this world and to commend the person into God's keeping. As far back into history as we can penetrate, human beings seem to have felt the need for a ceremonial leave-taking of those who have died. Whether in a parish church or a crematorium chapel, it can be a plain Church of England funeral service or with the addition of hymns, favourite prayers and readings, and an address.
Whatever the pattern of service, the words and actions all speak of a loving God and the preciousness to Him of every human being.
The funeral service of the Church of England can be very short and quiet with only a few members of the family present or an occasion of great solemnity with music, hymns and a packed church. Funeral services always raise profound questions about the meaning of life and death. Jesus himself believed in a life-giving God: 'the God of the living, not of the dead.' Christians believe that Christ's resurrection is the triumph of good over evil and of life over death and has made eternal life available to us.
The person who has died may have left a paragraph in their Will describing the sort of funeral arrangements they hoped for. Naturally, the family will want to keep to such arrangements as far as possible.
Not everyone knows that they have the right to a funeral in their parish church, even if they and the deceased have not been church-goers. Nor do practising Christians always realise that they can have a Communion service as part of the funeral.
Parish clergy regard the taking of funerals as an important part of their work. They give a lot of time to visiting families, comforting those who are facing loss, finding out what service they want to use and helping them to arrange it.
If one of the local clergy is to be asked to take the service, this should be done before any other funeral arrangements are made to make sure one is free and available. If the priest did not know the dead person, then it would help to provide some details, especially if there is to be an address.
The funeral director plays a very important part in all these arrangements and will want to know if the funeral is to be in the parish church or if the vicar is to take the service in the crematorium. Please contact the Church Office for further help.
We keep a book of remembrance in the church so that people's loved ones can be remembered on the annivaersay of their deaths. Please contact our administrator to find out more.
The fees that the church charges for funerals and associated services are listed in the document below. These are usually paid through the Funeral Director.