A Church of England funeral is a church service which conforms to a basic structure, while allowing many personal touches in memory of a departed loved one. Many families wish to celebrate the departed’s life, and this can be achieved within that service. We ask God to care for the departed and we place them in God's hands - this is known as the Commendation and Committal - in the knowledge that there is nothing better we can do for our loved one. The funeral service can be a very sad occasion, but it is a necessary part of the grieving process and it offers the Christian hope that God loves and cares for each one of us.
All bereaved families are invited to our All Souls' Day service (around 2 November), to remember those who have died and those whose funerals took place at St Mary's or St. John's or with our clergy in the past year.
Arranging a funeral
Most arrangements, including the finances, will be handled by the funeral director. Many people visit the funeral director first, though if there is a priest who you would like to take the service you should contact them as soon as possible.
Services may be a funeral, or a funeral Eucharist - a "Requiem Mass" - followed by a committal at a crematorium or graveside. Alternatively the full service can take place at either a crematorium or cemetery.
The family and priest meet before the funeral to address any questions and discuss what the service might contain. The family may find it useful to draw up their thoughts about the departed before they meet the priest and to have considered what music they would like. When thinking about music it is important to consider how appropriate it may be – not everything we might like to play will do justice to the service and the departed.