What happens when somebody dies?
Coping with the death of a close friend or relative is an emotional time. News of a death can often be a shock. Then there are practical arrangements to be made: friends and relatives to be informed, the death to be registered and the funeral to be booked and planned. Sometimes the practical stuff can postpone how we feel about the loss of somebody close. Once the busy tasks have been dealt with the natural human reactions to the loss can progress. That is when you may feel you would like further help and support. The clergy who become involved in your funeral will remain a channel for you to work through that grieving process.
Who do I have to contact?
The first practical point of contact is a funeral director. They are familiar with all types of funeral service, religious and secular. They can advise and also make all the practical arrangements for you, including contacting a member of the clergy and booking the church or crematorium. You have the choice of the type of funeral you want and where it is held. Please remember that sometimes the deceased person's wishes for their funeral arrangements have been recorded in their will.
You do not need to register the death before contacting the funeral director. But you will need to register the death within a few days. A range of helpful information can be found at: http://www.registeringadeath.co.uk
Once a member of clergy has been allocated to the funeral they will contact you and arrange to visit. They, along with your funeral director, will then support your plans for the funeral. The clergy are also trained in supporting those who are bereaved and will be happy to answer any questions and, if you wish, pray for you and others and the person who has died.
How is the funeral arranged?
The funeral director makes the practical arrangements, finding out the availability of the church and/or crematorium, cemetry, and booking these and a member of clergy or Reader who can conduct the service. They can also advise on flowers, donations, obituary notices in the press, service sheets for the funeral and disposal of ashes.
What sort of funeral can I have?
There are many choices for funerals. Commonly, a funeral service is held in church and the coffin is then taken to the crematorium for a brief “commital” where loved ones can say their final farewell. The whole service can be held at the crematorium, though the timed slots of just 30 minutes may restrict what you would like to include in the service. If a person is cremated you will then have a choice of what to do with the ashes.
If the coffin is to be buried, that can be arranged either in a churchyard that has not been declared “closed” or in a local cemetry. A modern alternative for the more environmentally conscious is to use a natural burial ground using an eco-friendly coffin of natural sustainable materials (see http://www.naturalburial.co.uk).
What are the choices for the content of a funeral service?
Planning a funeral service can be a difficult task. It is an emotional time and deciding what are the right words and music may not be easy. The clergy or Reader who visits you to discuss funeral arrangements will be sensitive to your wishes and can advise on what you might like to include. We can provide a booklet that helps with the process. We are happy to include music from a tape or CD and to have readings or poems from non-biblical sources. Above all, we want the service to reflect your wishes and to be appropriate for the person who has died.