A funeral is used to mark the end of a person's life here on earth. Family and friends come together to express grief, give thanks for the life lived and commend the person into God's keeping.
I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown'. And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!' - Minnie Louise Haskins, God Knows
The funeral of a loved one acknowledges the closing of a human life on earth. A funeral service is an opportunity for family and friends to gather in a parish church or crematorium to express their grief, give thanks to God and celebrate the completed journey of an earthly life, and to commend the soul of the departed into God's eternal keeping.
A funeral service conducted by a Church of England minister can be very short and quiet with only a few members of a family present, or an occasion of great solemnity with music, hymns, a eulogy offered by one of the mourners, the inclusion of favourite readings, and a full church.
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 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 person have not been church-goers. The Parish Church is the spiritual 'home' of everyone who lives within the parish and we welcome a funeral service for your loved one.
Parish clergy regard the taking of funerals as an important part of their work. Before a funeral the family will be visited by a minister, to offer comfort to those who are facing loss, to find out what service they want to use and to help them to arrange it. If the priest did not know the deceased person, then it would help to provide some details, especially if there is to be an address within the service.
The Funeral Director plays a very important part in the co-ordinating of the funeral arrangements and will want to know if the funeral is to be in the parish church or if the parish clergy are to take the service in the crematorium. They will advise you on the fees for a funeral service in church, at a cemetery, or crematorium.
Whether the service will be 'small' or 'large' in numbers attending, the Parish Church seeks to provide whatever you may require.
With regard to music, it is possible to have:
Experience has shown that the use of CD’s and recorded music detracts from the service– so their use is discouraged – but it is possible to use original CDs if required. Copied CDs do not work..
It is becoming more common for the whole service to take part in the church, but it is possible for the main part of the service to take place in the church (i.e. the readings, address, prayers and commendation), and then to either go to the Cemetery or Crematorium for the short service of Committal.
The Committal is sometimes a private occasion when the family wish to have the opportunity of saying their own personal goodbye to their loved one.
The Crematorium - It is possible to have the funeral service at the Crematorium only, conducted by one of the parish clergy.
The Cemetery - Although rare nowadays, a funeral service can be conducted entirely at the graveside.