A funeral is used to mark the end of a person’s life here on earth. Family and friends come together to express their grief, give thanks for the life lived and commend the person into God’s keeping.
Everyone is entitled to either a burial service (funeral) or to have their ashes buried in the cemetery by their local parish priest regardless of whether they attend church or not.
At St George’s, we will do all we can to help you when you are experiencing sadness through the death of a loved one. We can support and guide you through the process of planning an appropriate service for the person who has died. Please do contact The Reverend Max Lambourne, 01743 790848, or ask your Funeral Director to make contact on your behalf.
Some people find planning the funeral with family and friends helps in their grieving. Perhaps you already know something of what your loved one wanted. You may even have planned the service together some time ago. The minister leading the service at St George’s or at the crematorium can help you choose suitable readings, hymns and prayers. If they did not know your loved one well, they will want to talk with you to build up a picture of the person’s life, this may take only one meeting but sometimes it can be more.
Some deaths will be especially traumatic, distressing or unexpected. The Church has special funerals for children, or after sudden or violent deaths, including suicide. Talk with your minister about what is possible.
On the day of the funeral, a small wooden cross bearing the name of your loved one is placed on the altar in the Lady Chapel, reminding us that everyone is held in God’s love in this life and the next.
You may like to have the name of the person who has died recorded in our Remembrance Book, which is kept open in the Lady Chapel. We remember all the names daily in our prayers and on the anniversary of death the name will be recorded on our Sunday bulletin. It may help you in your grief to come and spend some time in the quiet area of the Chapel and light a candle or leave a prayer request. St George’s Church is open every day during daylight hours.
Each family with whom we have had contact for a funeral will be invited to our annual All Souls Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance which takes place on the Sunday nearest to 2nd November each year. On the first anniversary your individual cross can be collected.
The Funeral Service.
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.‘ (Matthew 5:4).
Welcome and Introduction.
After the welcome, the minister will say a short opening prayer, and then a hymn is usually sung. A tribute to the person who has died can then be given by family and friends or the minister. Symbols of the person’s life can be placed on or near the coffin as a part of this. 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 Address.
One of more readings from scripture and appropriate poems may be read next, followed by a psalm or hymn. A short address by the Minister will focus on God’s care and the hope of eternal life for the person who has died and all who believe.
The prayers recall the promise of the resurrection. They give thanks for your loved one’s life and ask for God’s presence for all those who mourn. The prayers normally end with the Lord’s Prayer. The prayers can be followed by another hymn
Commendation and Farewell.
The minister says a special prayer to commend the person to God’s love and mercy. 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.
The service in church or the crematorium will end with a blessing.
In the 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 Pontesbury Cemetery, or use the crematorium’s Garden of Remembrance.