If someone you know and love has died, a funeral led by a Church of England minister can be held in church, in a churchyard, by a graveside, or at a crematorium. The minister will be there to support you every step of the way.
Christians believe that each and every person is uniquely made in the image of God. So a Church of England funeral is a good place to give thanks for all that was special about the person you knew and loved.
It can also include unique details, whether that is what people wear, the music that is played, readings that are chosen or simply a photograph at the front. Talk to the minister about the person you want to give thanks for and the life you want to celebrate. They will help you work out what is possible.
The prayers at a funeral can also reflect a unique life. They could include prayers for work or a hobby that has been important, for those who have cared during a final illness and for family members by name. They can be led by the vicar or by someone amongst family or friends who is at ease leading prayers in public.
First Steps in arranging a funeral
Where can a funeral take place?
Visit A Church Near You to check you live in the Parish Boundaries or to find out what your local church is. In the results of your search, click on a church’s name and the contact details should be displayed. You can usually telephone or email, and it will be either the vicar or another church contact will respond to your enquiry as soon as they can.
Step-by-step Guide to a Funeral Service
Wherever you choose to have a funeral, it will reflect the unique life of the person you knew. Whatever will help to make the funeral special - music, hymns, reading, tributes, even the type of coffin - can be part of a Church of England funeral. Talk to you minister about what is possible. We;re with you ever step of the way.
When everyone has arrived at the funeral venue, the coffin will be carried by the pallbearers, (who could be family or friends), into the building or onto the burial site depending on where the funeral is to take place.
When everyone is gathered, a hymn may be sung. It is fine if you don't want anyone hymns, but if you do, Speak with your minister about your options.
When everyone is gathered, a hymn may be sung. It is fine if you don't want anyone hymns, but if you do, here are some popular choices for funerals:
MUSIC FOR ADULTS
Abide with me
All things bright and beautiful
Be still for the presence of the Lord
Dear Lord and Father
For the beauty of the Earth
Great is thy faithfulness
The Lord is my shepherd
Lead us heavely Father lead us
Lord of all hopefulness
Lord of the dance
Love divine all loves excelling
Make me a channel of your peace
Old rugged cross
The day though gavest
Music for Children
Christ beside me
Thank you for the gifts we treasure
There is a place
Remembering a Unique Life
One of the most appriciated parts of the service for those who attend funerals, is to hear about the loves, passions, and lives of the one we love but see no longer.
The Tribute, also known as a Eulogy, is a wonderful opportunity to show people all about the person we are saying good-bye to.
Who has to write The Tribute
This can be written by one individual or even be a collection of different thoughts and memories of the deceased. If you, or someone in the family, does not feel able to write The Tribute then speak with the minister and they can help you write it.
It may include a reading and/or music which reflect the character or interests of the person who has died.
Who gets to read The Tribute
It is often encouraging, where people feel able, for a member of the family to read out The Tribute. If you or others do not feel up to this then it is possible for the minister to read this out on your behalf. It is even possible to for a member of the family to start reading the tribute and if for any reason they cannot continue, the minister can continue for them.
A Message of Hope (Bible Readings)
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
Jesus the Way to the Father
A New Heaven and a New Earth
1 Corinthians 13
Reflecting and Remembering
In a time of reflection, music can be played, or silence may be kept. Prayers will be said too.
At this point, it might be appropriate to lay flowers on the coffin or express your sadness and loss in another way. Some families choose a cardboard coffin so that messages or pictures can be drawn on it. Perhaps a poem or reading may be just right.
Talk to your minister about any ideas you might have. Tell them all about the person you knew and love and they can offer suggestions for special ways to make it personal.
In your order of service, there may also be time for another hymn, if you'd like that. Talk to your minister about how much time you'll have, especially if the funeral is taking place at the crematorium.
It will then be time for the farewell. The minister will pray, asking God to keep your loved one in God's care, using words that have been used for centuries:
"... earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust: in sure and certain hope of resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ"
This may be a very emotional moment. It may be possible to have some special music played at this point.
The minister will say a blessing and music may be played as the mourners leave the venue.