Funeral

    The Outline Order
for the Funeral of a Child
     
    For Notes, see here.
     
   
The Gathering
 
     
1
  The coffin may be received at the door by the minister, or it may be in place before the congregation assembles.
     
2
  Sentences of Scripture may be used.
     
3
  The minister welcomes the people and introduces the service.
     
4
  A tribute or tributes may be made.
     
5
  Authorized Prayers of Penitence may be used.
     
6
  The Collect may be said here or in the Prayers.
     
   
Readings and Sermon
 
     
7
  One or more readings from the Bible is used. Psalms or hymns may follow the readings.
     
8
  A sermon is preached.
     
   
Prayers
 
     
9
  The prayers usually follow this sequence:
     
       Thanksgiving for the child's life, however brief
     
       Prayer for those who mourn
     
       Prayers of Penitence (if not already used)
     
       Prayer for readiness to live in the light of eternity
     
   
Commendation and Farewell
 
     
10
  The child is commended to God with authorized words.
     
   
The Committal
 
     
11
  The child's body is committed to its resting place with authorized words.
     
   
The Dismissal
 
     
12
  The service may end with a blessing.
     
    For Resources for the Funeral of a Child, see here.
     
     
    The Outline Order for the
Funeral of a Child within a
Celebration of Holy Communion
     
    For Notes, see here.
     
   
The Gathering
 
     
1
  The coffin may be received at the door by the minister, or it may be in place before the congregation assembles.
     
  2
  Sentences of Scripture may be used.
     
  3
  The minister welcomes the people and introduces the service.
     
4
  A tribute or tributes may be made.
     
  5
  Authorized Prayers of Penitence are used here or in the Prayers.
     
6
  The Collect is said here or in the Prayers.
     
   
The Liturgy of the Word
 
     
  7
  One or more readings from the Bible is used. Psalms or hymns may follow the readings.
     
   8
  A Gospel reading is used
     
  9
  A sermon is preached.
     
   
Prayers
 
     
10
  The prayers usually follow this sequence:
     
        Thanksgiving for the child's life, however brief
     
        Prayer for those who mourn
     
        Prayers of Penitence (if not already used)
     
        Prayer for readiness to live in the light of eternity
     
   
The Liturgy of the Sacrament
 
     
11
  The Peace
     
12
  Preparation of the Table
    Taking of the Bread and Wine
     
13
  The Eucharistic Prayer (any authorized Eucharistic Prayer may be used)
     
14
  The Lord's Prayer (used here rather than in the Prayers)
     
15
  Breaking of the Bread
     
16
  Giving of Communion
     
17
  Prayer after Communion
     
   
Commendation and Farewell
 
     
18
  The child is commended to God with authorized words.
     
   
The Committal
 
     
19
  The child's body is committed to its resting place with authorized words.
     
   
The Dismissal
 
20
  The service may end with a blessing.
     
    Resources for the Funeral of a Child follow.
     
   
Notes
 
     
    The notes to the Funeral Service apply equally to this service.
     
1
  An Outline Order is provided, followed by some suggested resources which may be suitable for different occasions and different ages.
     
2
  The presence of young children at a child's funeral should be welcomed and their needs should be borne in mind.
     
  3
  Care should be taken to ensure that there is a clear president throughout, who introduces and concludes the service, and that the number of other speakers, musical items and non-biblical readings does not unbalance the service from its focus on the word of God, prayer and thanksgiving.
     
4
  Wherever possible, the name of the child should be used in the text of the service.
     
    For a Theological Note on the Funeral of a Child Dying near the Time of Birth, see here.
     
     
    Resources for the
Funeral of a Child
     
  The Gathering
   
Words for the Greeting
 
     
    We meet in the name of Jesus Christ,
who died and was raised to the glory of God the Father.
Grace and mercy be with you.
[All
  And also with you.]
     
     
   
Words for introducing the service
 
     
    We have come together to worship God,
to thank him for his love,
and to remember the [short] life on earth of N ;
to share our grief
and to commend him/her to the eternal care of God.
[We meet in the faith that death is not the end,
and may be faced without fear,
bitterness or guilt.]
     
    (or)
     
    We have come here today
to remember before God our brother/sister N ;
to give thanks for his/her life;
to commend him/her to God our merciful redeemer and judge;
to commit his/her body to be buried/cremated,
and to comfort one another in our grief.
     
   
Introductory sentences
 
     
    I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
   
Romans 8.38,39
     
    The Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd, and will lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.              
   
Revelation 7.17
     
    Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.    
   
1 John 3.2
     
    Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.
   
Mark 10.14
     
    I will comfort you, says the Lord, as a mother comforts her child, and you shall be comforted.   
   
Isaiah 66.13
     
   
Opening prayers
 
     
    God of all mercies,
you make nothing in vain
and love all that you have made.
Comfort us in our grief,
and console us by the knowledge of your unfailing love,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
                   
    O God, who brought us to birth,
and in whose arms we die,
in our grief and shock,
contain and comfort us;
embrace us with your love,
give us hope in our confusion
and grace to let go into new life;
through Jesus Christ. 
All
  Amen.
     
    God of love,
you have bound us together in life with N / those we love
and opened the door of heaven
through the suffering and resurrection of Jesus;
look upon us in your mercy,
give us courage to face our grief
and bring us all to the fullness of the risen life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
  Readings
     
    One or more passages from the Bible is read.
     
    The following may be suitable for particular occasions
     
    Psalm 23
    Psalm 84.1-4
     
    Song of Solomon 2.10-13
    Isaiah 49.15-16
    Jeremiah 1.4-8
    Jeremiah 31.15-17
     
    Matthew 18.1-5,10
    Mark 10.13-16
    John 6.37-40
    John 10.27,28
     
    Romans 8.18,28,35,37-39
    1 Corinthians 13.1-13
    Ephesians 3.14-19
     
  Prayers
     
    The prayers usually follow this sequence:
     
        Thanksgiving for the child's life, however brief
     
        Prayer for those who mourn
     
        Prayers of Penitence (if not already used)
     
        Prayer for readiness to live in the light of eternity
     
    Some suggestions follow, from which a choice will need to be made according to age and circumstances.
     
1
  The Lord Jesus is the lover of his people and our only sure hope.
Let us ask him to deepen our faith and sustain us in this dark hour.

You became a little child for our sake, sharing our human life.
To you we pray:
All
  bless us and keep us, O Lord.
     
    You grew in wisdom, age and grace
and learned obedience through suffering.
To you we pray:
All
  bless us and keep us, O Lord.
     
    You welcomed children, promising them your kingdom.
To you we pray:
All
  bless us and keep us, O Lord.
     
    You comforted those who mourned the loss of children and friends.
To you we pray:
All
  bless us and keep us, O Lord.
     
    You took upon yourself the suffering and death of us all.
To you we pray:
All
  bless us and keep us, O Lord.
     
    You promised to raise up those who believe in you,
just as you were raised up in glory by the Father.
To you we pray:
All
  bless us and keep us, O Lord.
     
2
  Father,
you know our hearts and share our sorrows.
We are hurt by our parting from N , whom we loved:
when we are angry at the loss we have sustained,
when we long for words of comfort,
yet find them hard to hear,
turn our grief to more patient faith,
our affliction to firmer hope
in Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.                 
     
3
  Father, the death of N brings an emptiness into our lives.
We are separated from him/her
and feel broken and bewildered.
Give us confidence that he/she is safe
and his/her life complete with you,
and bring us together at the last
to the wholeness and fullness of your presence in heaven,
where your saints and angels enjoy you for ever and ever. 
All
  Amen.
     
4
  Lord, we pray for those who mourn,
for parents and children,
friends and neighbours.
Be gentle with them in their grief.
Show them the depths of your love,
a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven.
Spare them the torment of guilt and despair.
Be with them as they weep beside the empty tomb
      of our risen Saviour.
All
  Amen.
     
5
  Most merciful God,
whose wisdom is beyond our understanding,
surround the family of N with your love,
that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss,
but have confidence in your love,
and strength to meet the days to come.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
6
  O God, you do not willingly grieve or afflict your children.
Look with pity on the suffering of this family in their loss.
Sustain them in their anguish;
and into the darkness of their grief
bring the light of your love;
through Jesus Christ we pray. 
All
  Amen.
     
7
  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ:
All
  the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.
     
    The Lord is near to those who call upon him:
All
  to all who call upon him faithfully.
     
    As a father is tender towards his children:
All
  so is the Lord tender to those that fear him.
     
    As a mother comforts her child:
All
  so shall the Lord bring you comfort.
     
    Then Jesus took the children in his arms:
All
  he placed his hands on each of them and blessed them.
     
    Prayers which may be said by the parents
     
  8
  God of love and life,
you gave N to us as our son/daughter.
Give us now the assurance
that though he/she has passed from our sight,
he/she has not passed from your care.
Draw near to us in our sadness,
bring blessing out of grief,  
and help us in our tears and pain
to know you standing alongside us
and to experience your love and healing;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
9
  God of all mystery,
whose ways are beyond understanding,
lead us, who grieve at this untimely death,
to a new and deeper faith in your love,
which brought your only Son Jesus
through death into resurrection life.
We make our prayer in Jesus' name. 
All
  Amen
     
10
  God of hope,
we come to you in shock and grief and confusion of heart.
Help us to find peace
in the knowledge of your loving mercy to all your children,
and give us light to guide us out of our darkness
into the assurance of your love. 
All
  Amen.
     
11
  God of unfailing compassion,
in your creative love and tenderness you gave us N ,
so full of hope for the future.
You are the source of all our lives,
the strength of all our days.
You did not make us for darkness and death
but to see you face to face
and to enjoy abundant life.
Help us to comfort one another
with the consolation we ourselves receive from you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
12
  God of all grace and comfort,
we thank you for N ,
and for the place he/she held in all our hearts.
We thank you
for the love in which he/she was conceived
and for the care with which he/she was surrounded.
As we remember times of tears and laughter,
we thank you for the love we shared because of him/her,
reflecting that love which you poured upon us
in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
13
  God our Father,
you know our thoughts and share our sorrows.
Lead us out of desolation
to the caring comfort of your love.
When we forget what happiness is,
renew in us fresh springs of hope.
When we feel bereft of peace,
restore our hearts and calm our fears.
And when we come at last to our departing,
bring us home with you for ever,
the family of God complete;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen. 
     
14
  Almighty God, creator and keeper of life,
we acknowledge that our child N is your child,
loved since before the foundation of the world.
Grant us such trust
in the finished work of your Son our Saviour
that we shall look with hope
towards a full knowledge of N ,
whose earthly life we have so little shared
but who is now complete with Christ in you.
All
  Amen.
     
15
  Lord of all, we thank you
for your work in creation,
for nourishing life in the womb,
for your love even in death.
Thank you for the life of this child N ,
whom you gave to us and have taken to yourself.
Thank you for the arms of your love,
embracing both us and N in your family.
Thank you for your presence in our sorrow
and your strength as our family grows older.
Take our sadness, and fill us with your Spirit
to serve you on earth
and join your saints in glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
    For the parents
     
16
  Heavenly Father,
you alone can heal our broken hearts;
you alone can wipe away the tears
      that well up inside us;
you alone can give us the peace we need;
you alone can strengthen us to carry on.
We ask you to be near those whose time of joy
      has been turned into sadness.
Assure them that with you nothing is wasted
      or incomplete,
and uphold them with your tender love.
Supported by your strength,
may our love for one another be deepened
by the knowledge of your love for us all.
All
  Amen.
     
17
  Loving Father,in your mercy you have brought your daughter N
      through childbirth in safety.
We pray that N [and N ] will know your support
in this time of trouble and sorrow at the loss of their child,
and enjoy your protection always;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
18
  Loving Father,
your servant Mary,
the mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ,
stood by the cross while her Son was dying.
May that same Jesus, victorious over death,
risen and ascended,
give comfort to these grieving parents,
and strengthen their faith in you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
    The children in the family
     
19
  Lord Jesus,
we ask you to be close to the children of this family,
whose lives have been changed by sorrow.
Give them courage to face their loss,
and comfort them with your unchanging love. 
All
  Amen.
     
20
  When we are weary and in need of strength,
when we are lost and sick at heart,
we remember him/her.

When we have a joy we long to share,
when we have decisions that are hard to make,
we remember him/her.

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
at the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
we remember him/her.

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer,
at the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn,
we remember him/her.

At the rising of the sun and at its setting,
we remember him/her.
     
    A stillborn child
     
21
  God our creator,
from whom all life comes,
comfort this family,
grieving for the loss of their hoped-for child.
Help them to find assurance
that with you nothing is wasted or incomplete,
and uphold them with your love,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. 
All
  Amen.
     
22
  Gracious God,
we thank you for the love in which N was conceived
and for the love of the home into which he/she was to be born.
We pray that the love which his/her parents
      have for each other
may grow and deepen as a result of this experience.
Give us grace, in patience and understanding,
to listen to each other,
and to help one another in the days to come.
All
  Amen.
     
    Farewell
     
  23
   Heavenly Father, N and N have named their baby N
- a name to be treasured for ever in their hearts.
But it was you who formed him/her in the womb;
you knew him/her by name before time began.
Now we commit N into your ever-caring and gentle love;
he/she brought the promise of joy
to many lives for so short a time;
enfold him/her now in eternal life,
in the name of our risen Saviour who was born and died  
and lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit for ever. 
All
  Amen.          
     
  Commendation and Farewell
     
1
  God our creator and redeemer,
by your power Christ conquered death
and returned to you in glory.
Confident of your victory
and claiming his promises,
we entrust N into your keeping
in the name of Jesus our Lord,
who, though he died, is now alive
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever. 
All
  Amen.
     
   2
  An older child
    Into your hands, Lord,
our faithful creator and most loving redeemer,
we commend your child N ,
for he/she is yours in death as in life.
In your great mercy
gather him/her into your arms
and fulfil in him/her the purpose of your love;
that, rejoicing in the light and refreshment of your presence,
he/she may enjoy that life which you have prepared for all those who love you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
3
  A young child
    Heavenly Father,
whose Son our Saviour
took little children into his arms and blessed them:
receive, we pray, your child N
in your never-failing care and love,
comfort all who have loved him/her on earth,
and bring us all to your everlasting kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All
  Amen.
     
4
  A baby
    To you, gentle Father,
we humbly entrust this child so precious in your sight.
Take him/her into your arms
and welcome him/her into your presence
where there is no sorrow nor pain,
but the fullness of peace and joy with you
for ever and ever. 
All
  Amen.
     
5
  Stillbirth
    God of compassion, you make nothing in vain
and love all you have created;
we commend to you N and N 's child N ,
for whom they poured out such great love,
for whom they cherished so many hopes and dreams.
We had longed to welcome him/her amongst us;
grant us the assurance that he/she is now encircled
      in your arms of love,
and shares the resurrection life of your Son, Jesus Christ.
All
  Amen.
     
6
  Miscarriage
    God of compassion,
you make nothing in vain,
and we love all that you have created;
we commend to you N and N 's child (name child if appropriate)
for whom they poured out such great love,
for whom they cherished many hopes and dreams.
Grant them the assurance that their child,
though not seen by us, is seen and known by you,
and will share the risen life of your Son, Jesus Christ. 
All
  Amen.
     
 ¶   The Committal
     
    The minister uses one of the following forms of Committal.
     
    At the burial of a body
     
    We have entrusted N to God's mercy,
and we now commit his/her body to the ground:
earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust:
in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who will transform our frail bodies
that they may be conformed to his glorious body,
who died, was buried, and rose again for us.
To him be glory for ever. 
All   Amen. 
     
    (or)
     
    in a crematorium, if the Committal is to follow at the Burial of the Ashes
     
    We have entrusted N to God's mercy,
and now, in preparation for his/her burial,
we give his/her body to be cremated.
We look for the fullness of the resurrection
when Christ shall gather all his saints
to reign with him in glory for ever. 
All
  Amen.
     
    (or)
     
    in a crematorium, if the Committal is to take place then
     
    We have entrusted N to God's mercy,
and we now commit his/her body to be cremated:
earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust:
in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who will transform our frail bodies
that they may be conformed to his glorious body,
who died, was buried, and rose again for us.
To him be glory for ever.
All
  Amen.
     
  The Dismissal
     
    God be in my head,
and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes,
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
and in my thinking;
God be at mine end,
and at my departing. 
All   Amen.
     
   
Blessings
 
     
    May Christ the good shepherd
enfold you with love,
fill you with peace,
and lead you in hope,
to the end of your days;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
All
  Amen.
     
    May God give you
his comfort and his peace,
his light and his joy,
in this world and the next;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. 
All
  Amen.
     
    May the love of God and the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ
bless and console you,
and all who have known and loved N ,
this day and for evermore. 
All
  Amen.