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A funeral marks the close of a human life on earth. It is the opportunity for friends and family to express their grief, to give thanks for the life which has now completed its journey in this world and to commend the person into God's keeping. It is a time in the lives of those who remain which can be difficult and traumatic, as they handle lots of different emotions. If you are now in this situation, may we first express our sympathy and our hope that we can be of help in the days which lie ahead

There are several different styles of funerals ....
  • Some are short services in Church with only a few members of the family present.
  • Some services are occasions of great solemnity with music, hymns and a church packed with friends and family.
  • Some services take place at a crematorium.
  • Some church services are followed by burial at a local cemetery.
  • Some services are followed by a short service at the crematorium.
Wherever it takes place, we aim that the service is appropriate for you as a family and the memories of your loved one. The service will tell their story and may have hymns, favourite prayers and readings, an address. Whatever the pattern of service, the words and actions all speak of a loving God and the preciousness to Him of every human being.

A Funeral Service ........ will reflect the personality of the one who has died and the circumstances of their death. Feelings of grief, gratitude, joy and sadness often intermingle. Sometimes, a sense of tragedy is uppermost, especially when it is a young person who has died. When it is the end of a long and fruitful life, the feelings of thanksgiving can be strongest. Funeral services always raise profound questions about the meaning of life and death. Jesus himself believed in a life-giving God: 'the God of the living, not of the dead.' Christians believe that Christ's resurrection is the triumph of good over evil and of life over death and brings the promise of life beyond death.

The Service .... ... begins with the minister coming into church (often in front of the people carrying the coffin) reading aloud reassuring words of Jesus from the Bible 'I am the resurrection and the life,' says the Lord. 'Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.' (John 11.25,26), 'Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.' (Matthew 5.4) and 'God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.'(John 3.16).

After a welcome from the minister, a hymn is usually sung and this is followed by someone telling the story of the person's life. We encourage members of the family or friends to do this, because they were closest to the person who died and are able to give the best insight into the life that has ended. However, sometimes people are too upset or feel unable to do this, so the minister may well speak at this moment, based on information provided by the family.

At this point, there may be a poem or a psalm or another hymnA reading from the Bible usually follows with an address or a sermon which talks of Christian beliefs about life beyond death. Such words aim to be a comfort and strength to the mourners. This is usually followed by prayers for all involved and the Lords Prayer. After a final hymn, the minister entrusts the dead person to the love and mercy of God in the words of the commendation.

The Committal At this point, the service moves on to a set of prayers called The Committal, a particularly solemn moment of the funeral service. It takes place either at the graveside or, in the case of a cremation, in the crematorium chapel or in church before the hearse leaves for the crematorium. In the cemetery or churchyard, the family will gather round the open grave into which the coffin is lowered and they will hear the words: 'We therefore commit his (or 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 life.' Handfuls of earth may be scattered on the coffin. In a crematorium, the words of committal may be accompanied by the closing of a curtain to hide the coffin from view or the coffin is moved slowly out of sight. The committal can be a very emotional moment. Many who are suffering grief find that, even in their sadness, the words of prayer can lift them towards the experience of Christian rejoicing in the knowledge of life beyond death. The offering of prayer and the trust that the person is in God's safe hands can begin the process of healing the grief of loss.

Our prayer is that you will know the peace and comfort of God at this difficult time and that our part in arranging the funeral will enable you not to have to worry about any aspect of it.

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