Death and Funerals
If you are suffering from terminal illness, or if you are caring for a relation, friend or neighbour who is close to death, your local Team Vicar is available to visit and offer spiritual help and comfort. Please go to the About Us area of this website for your local Team Vicar's contact details.
Here are some frequently-asked questions and answers on death and funerals
Someone close to me has just died. What do I do?
There is a very usefulinformation entitled 'What to do after somebody dies' which details the things you need to do, including obtaining a death certificate and registering the death.
This can be down-loaded from the governmant website at: https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death.
Another useful website is www.adviceguide.org.uk
How do I go about arranging a funeral?
Choose a local undertaker without delay. Perhaps your friends or neighbours can recommend one. Or look in Yellow Pages or your local trade directory under Funeral Directors. They have 24 hour answering services and are prepared to come and care for the dead person's body immediately after death.
If the funeral is to be in Church, or if you would like a Vicar to take the service at a crematorium, your local Team Vicar must be contacted without delay.
To make sure the Vicar is available, you (or the undertaker) must do this before any funeral arrangements are finalised.
See if the person who has died left any guidance or requests about their funeral in their Will or personal papers. If so, have these ready when your Team Vicar calls to discuss the funeral service.
The person who has died was not a regular Churchgoer. Can he (or she) have a Church funeral?
Yes, provided there is space, he or she has a right to a funeral and burial in the churchyard of the parish in which he or she resided. However, there is no right to burial in a particular place in a churchyard.
What happens in a funeral service?
The Vicar begins by reading some sentences of hope and comfort from the Bible. Then a hymn may be sung, followed by a psalm. Then there is a reading from the Bible, followed by an address remembering the person's life and reminding us of the Christian hope of God's gift of life beyond this world. Part of this may be given by a relative or friend.
Another hymn and a favourite poem or reading may follow, and then prayers entrusting the dead person to the love and mercy of God and asking for comfort for the mourners. These conclude with the Lord's Prayer. The service in Church may draw to a close here with a final hymn and The Blessing
The Committal follows. This is a particularly solemn part of the service, because at this point we are parted from the dead person's physical remains.
If he or she is to be buried, the Committal takes place at the graveside, where the family and other mourners gather round as the coffin is lowered into the grave while the Vicar reads prayers. The mourners are invited to throw earth on the coffin.
If he or she is to be cremated, the Committal takes place in the crematorium chapel or increasingly now in the Church before the hearse carrying the coffin leaves for the crematorium.
Taking funerals and caring for the bereaved in an important of your local Team Vicar's work. He or she will visit you to discuss the funeral service and help you choose suitable hymns, psalm and readings to reflect the life and personality of the dead person.
Sometimes, especially if a large congregation is expected at a funeral, an Order of Service is printed. This is arranged by the undertaker, following the Vicar's agreement on the content of the service.
The Order of Service must be discussed and agreed with the Vicar without delay to allow time for printing before the service.
What happens to the ashes after a cremation?
They can be buried in the garden of rest at the crematorium or buried in a special place set aside in churchyards for ashes. In some cases, ashes may be buried in the grave of a deceased spouse or close relation.
If the family wish it, the burial of ashes can take place within a short service in the Churchyard, usually held a few days after the funeral and cremation.
Where can I get more information?
For full practical information, visit the websites whose addresses are given above under the first question above.
For more information on the Christian faith and practice at the time of death, go to www.cofe.anglican.org/lifeevents/funerals.