The service will follow a clear plan. The focus moves from earth
to heaven as the service moves from greeting the mourners, to
remembering the one who has died all the while asking for God's
comfort and then committing your loved one into God's care.
Entry of the coffin
Traditionally, the minister meets the coffin at the door and
leads it and the mourners in. The minister will say some reassuring
words from the Bible, for example:
'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will
live, even though he dies,' says the Lord (John 11:25).
'For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels
nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will
be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus
our Lord.' (Romans 8:38+9)
'Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.'
Welcome and Introduction
After the welcome and first prayer, there may be a hymn or a
tribute to the person who has passed away. This can be done by
family and friends or the minister. Sometimes symbols of the
person's life are placed on or near the coffin as a part of
Sometimes there is a prayer for forgiveness. It's common to feel
we have let a loved one down after they die, that there were things
we could have done or should not have done. The prayer for
forgiveness can help with these feelings.
Readings and sermon
A Psalm comes next, '
The Lord is my shepherd' is comforting because it speaks of God
being with us in death and grief. The Bible readings focus on God's
care and the hope of eternal life. The sermon speaks of the
Christian hope of life beyond death and relates it to your loved
The funeral prayers recall the promise of the
resurrection. They ask for God's presence with those who mourn and
give thanks for your loved one's life. The prayers normally end
Commendation, Farewell and Committal
The minister says a prayer to commend the person to God's love
and mercy. Then the body is 'committed' for burial or
We now commit his/her body to the ground;
earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust:
in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal
The committal prayer might be said in church, or at the
graveside, or in a crematorium as the curtains close around the
coffin. It will be a very emotional time, a clear 'Goodbye' to your
loved one for this life.
In Christian tradition the funeral ends with a burial of either
the coffin or ashes. If you have chosen a cremation you may bury
the ashes in the churchyard, or use the crematorium's Garden of
Remembrance. The ashes may be buried a few days after the funeral
with a very brief service.