Anyone is able to ask a Church of England minister to take a funeral for someone they knew and loved.
Neither the person who has died nor the person asking has to be a regular churchgoer. Church of England ministers will take the funeral service for anyone who lives in their parish.
Church of England ministers can conduct funerals in four different venues:
- A church. This will normally be the church building where they are based.
- A crematorium chapel.
- A municipal or private cemetery: this might be in the cemetery chapel or just at the graveside
- A natural burial ground. Again, the service here could be in the chapel or meeting room of the ground, or at the graveside.
You might like to use a funeral director that belongs to one of the trade associations such as the National Association of Funeral Directors or the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors.
If you go to their websites, you will find a local funeral director. Often, funeral directors have been working in their town for many years, and you may have heard of them by local reputation.
At the heart of every funeral led by a Church of England minister is the good news of God’s love for every unique human being. Each service is designed to reflect that love alongside the story of a particular life.
There are so many choices that can help to make the service personal, including:
- Where it happens – at a crematorium, in a church, at a green burial site, in a funeral director’s chapel
- The structure of the day – where the service begins, whether the funeral will move from one location to another and where things will finish.
- The choice of coffin and transport
- Personal items at the service, such as photos or memorabilia
- Music and hymns – sung by congregations or soloists or recordings
- Readings – poetry, from friends, and the whole Bible to choose from!
- A tribute or eulogy – shared by family and friends, or read on your behalf by the minister
- Prayers and reflection – you could contribute and special interests of your loved one can be shared
- At the graveside/afterwards – symbols such as balloons, doves or flowers
All of these can be part of a Church of England-led funeral and helps to make the service personal.
The minister will tell the story of God’s love, offering a message of Christian hope and comfort, drawing on timeless words that have helped generations of people. When the minister visits you, share your thoughts, and be ready to talk about the person you are remembering. You will be able to work together to create a service that is special, and that will work well on the day.
You may have some ideas for a Bible passage already, or you may need more help with the choices. Talk through with the minister about what options are available.
A selection of some of the most popular choices of Bible readings are shown on the service walk-through page.
If the child wants to go, and the family is comfortable with the decision, there is no reason why a child should not go to a funeral.
It is helpful if a particular adult is able to be with children and explain to them what is happening.
If you have had a cremation service, then the final part will be burying the ashes. This might happen within a few days or weeks and the Church of England minister who took the funeral can lead a short service.
You can bury the ashes in the churchyard, or use the crematorium’s Garden of Remembrance.