Funerals

When someone dies, there’s so much to think about and so much to organize. We understand how difficult this can be, but we can help you think about the right sort of ceremony to honour the person who has died.

A message of hope
The message at all Church of England funerals, wherever they happen, is one of hope. Although there is sadness because someone you know and love has died, in every Church of England funeral there will also be a message of hope in life after death

Christians believe that when we die God promises that we will be with him in a wonderful place where death and pain are gone forever. Whatever the circumstances of death these words of hope can be a great comfort to those who attend a funeral.

When we die, we can’t see the person we love anymore, but Christians believe that through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we will see that person again. It might be in very different form, in a very different way, but that is the Christian hope, and that is what everyone will get when they come to a Church of England funeral.

What are the options?
Burial or cremation:
You will need to decide whether the person is to be buried or cremated.
(i) burial
There will be a funeral service in the church, followed by laying the person to rest in the churchyard
(ii) cremation
You may want to hold the funeral at the crematorium.
Alternatively, you might choose to have a funeral service in church, followed by the committal in the crematorium.

Service of thanksgiving:
Sometimes people will choose to have a burial or cremation attended by family and close friends only, followed by a memorial service of service of thanksgiving for the life of the person. This may be held on the same day as a burial or cremation, or at another time some weeks or months later.

Interment of ashes:
If the person has been cremated, you may choose to have their ashes interred in the churchyard. This can be arranged for any time after the funeral. There will be a very short ceremony with some verses from the Bible and some prayers.

Who can be buried in the churchyard?
Under the Burial Act of 1853, you have a right to be buried in the churchyard if:

This also holds for the interment of ashes following a cremation.
The rector, with guidance from the Parochial Church Council, can sometimes give permission for someone to be buried in the churchyard, where, for example, they have strong links to the parish. Some churches have made the decision to limit burials only to those who have a legal right to be buried there. This usually reflects a concern about a lack of space within the churchyard. Even when this is the case, it may still be possible for cremated remains to be interred in an existing grave of a family member.
There are rules about the sorts of memorials you can have in a churchyard. See the section on the website: Guide to memorials.

Preparing the right sort of service
The Church of England service provides a framework for a Christian burial, but there are all sorts of ways in which you can make the service personal to the person you have lost.

When you or your funeral director contacts us, we will arrange to meet with you and together we will plan a service that seems right to you.

What next?
If you would like to hold the funeral in church, or for one of our Ministry Team to conduct the funeral in the crematorium, ask your Funeral Director to contact us, and we will arrange to meet with you.

Planning your own funeral
Perhaps you would like to think through the arrangements for your own funeral service. Some people do this so that when they die there will be one less thing for their family to worry about.
We would be very happy to help you do this. Just get in contact and ask to meet.

A guide to memorials