In the first instance, we recommend that your chosen Funeral Director contacts the priest to ask whether they and/or the church is available to take the service. Whether you opt for a service in church, at the crematorium or another location, such as a ‘green’ burial ground, the priest will do all they can to support and guide you. This support starts when the priest comes to visit you, usually at home, to explain the basic pattern of the service and discuss how it can be personalised. Other members of the family are welcome to meet with the priest during that visit.
Such personalisation can be achieved with careful choice of music (hymns and/or recorded music), readings (including poetry) and contributions from family and friends. The Eulogy or Tribute is more often than not given by the priest after taking extensive details of the deceased from those closest to them but anyone is welcome to do so instead.
On the day of the funeral, the priest would be happy to visit you at home before you leave for the funeral to pray with you and then puts you into the hands of the Funeral Director. After the funeral, you may have a social gathering and, if there has been a cremation, you may wish the priest to say some words later on when the ashes are buried or scattered (please note that ashes may not be scattered in a church burial ground).
If, at any point after the funeral, you would like a member of the clergy to visit you, please do say so. There are some things it is difficult to say in front of family, even when they care very deeply. We may, for example, feel that we have to “stay strong for them” while all the time we are crying out to for someone to listen to how we really feel.
A Christian funeral, like a wedding and baptism is a sacrament (meaning ‘gift of grace’) and is available to any resident of any parish, even if they did not attend public worship. The theme of such a service is one of thanksgiving and hope in Jesus Christ who conquered death and opened eternity.
Many members of the clergy will also be happy to help an individual plan the details of their funeral when they are still very much alive. This may be especially timely when preparing a Will.
To read more about a Church of England funeral, click here.