It is inevitable that death touches all of us, and the Church has an important place in supporting people through this difficult time. A funeral marks the close of a human life on earth. As well as being a time to say goodbye to our loved ones and express our grief, it is also the opportunity for friends and family to celebrate and give thanks for the life that has ended and commend the person into God’s keeping. We can also thank God that because of the death and resurrection of Jesus – death need not have the final word and that eternal life is available to us all.
Q: Where can a funeral service be held ?
A. Funeral services conducted by a member of our ministry team can take place at our churches or in the chapels at the Carmountside or Stafford crematoria. Should you wish for a member of our ministry team to conduct a funeral at another location, please contact the Rector in the first instance.
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a funeral in church ?
A. The major advantage of a funeral in church is time. A service at a local crematorium is normally restricted to a maximum time of 20 minutes. Many people feel this provides insufficient time, and also leads to the whole service feeling rushed. When a funeral is held in church, there is a greater opportunity to commemorate your loved one’s life more fully, as we can agree a length of time for the service which fits your requirements. We have projection facilities if you wish to show pictures or other graphics during the service to help remember the life of your loved one and the times you have shared together. The minister can then travel with you to the cemetery or crematorium for a very short committal service. Another advantage of coming to church is that you can invite many mourners to the funeral, but then have a private committal, just for your closest relations. On the other hand, if you are having a reception for the mourners after the funeral, they may have to wait some time for you to return from the committal at the cemetery or crematorium.
Q: Do you have to live in the parish to have a funeral in church ?
A. People who live in the parish have a right to have their funeral in the parish church, even if they have not been a church-goer during their life. Wherever possible, we accommodate requests for funerals of people for whom our church or community of has played a significant part of their lives.
Q: Can people still be buried in the churchyard ?
A. The churchyard at St Peter's is now closed. Burials now take place in the local authority cemeteries. Your funeral director can give you details of suitable burial grounds. But the churchyard at St Margaret's may be used, please consult with the Rector for more information. Q: What about ashes – can they be buried in the churchyard? A. Again generally no, although family graves can be opened for the interment of ashes. It is not possible for ashes to be scattered in the churchyard.
Q: How do I arrange a funeral ?
A. In the first instance, you need to appoint a funeral director. He or she will initially liaise with the clergy on your behalf to agree the date and time of the funeral. If you want a particular person from the ministry team to take the service, this should be specified to the funeral director to make sure they are available. The ministry team see the taking of funerals and the comforting of those who mourn as important parts of their work. They give a lot of time to visiting families, comforting those who are facing loss, finding out what they want included in the funeral service and helping them to arrange it. To arrange the details of the service, the member of the ministry team who will take the service will make an appointment to meet up with you. If they did not know the deceased, they will ask you about their life and your memories of your time together. They will also discuss details of the service such as hymns, music, readings, and the nature of any address to the gathered mourners.
Q: What arrangements can I make now for my own funeral ?
A. It may feel somewhat strange to make plans for your death, but it is very wise and sensible to realise that it will come one day and be ready in every way for when it happens. In particular, it is essential to make sure we have taken hold of the promises that Jesus makes about eternal life and live our lives in such a way that we are ready to stand before God. It is also helpful to have made known your wishes about your funeral. The ministry team are available to discuss your requirements and can file them away for the time they are needed. Also, most funeral directors offer schemes whereby you can arrange and pay for your funeral now, thereby removing some of the worries from those left behind.
Q: What does it cost ?
A. Most of the costs of the funeral will be incurred with the funeral director. There are separate fees for the church and the organist, but these are normally settled by the funeral director on your behalf and then passed on to you. Church fees are set annually by the Central Church authorities and our Church Council and go towards the church upkeep and ministerial fees.