A Celebration of Life

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.

Where can a funeral service be held?
Funeral services can take place in St Martin’s, or in the chapel at the local authority’s crematoria and cemeteries. The clergy are happy to officiate at funerals in any of these places.
What are the advantages of having a funeral in church?
A service at a local crematorium / cemetery chapel is normally restricted to a maximum time of 20 minutes. Many people feel this provides insufficient time, whereas if you hold the service in church you will have more time, as we can agree a length of time for the service which fits your requirements. Another practical advantage is the larger size of a church compared to most crematorium / cemetery chapels. If you are expecting many mourners to the funeral, we are able to accommodate a much larger congregation. People from some cultures also appreciate the opportunity to open the coffin during the service so that the mourners can file past and pay their last respects to the person who has died. This is not permitted in the local crematoria and cemetery chapels, but can take place in church. Finally St Martin’s Church is equipped with data projectors. Increasingly, families are making use of these to project pictures during the service which help them in remembering the life of their loved one and the times that they have shared together.
Do you have a churchyard for burials or scattering of ashes?
St Martin’s doesn’t have a churchyard for burials or scattering of ashes. Burials and burial or scattering of ashes can take place following a service at St Martin’s in one of the local cemetries. This can be arranged in advance with the funeral directors.
What arrangements can I make now for my own funeral?
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 clergy 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. If you wish to make arrangements for your own funeral, it is important to ensure that your next of kin are aware of your wishes.
How do I arrange a funeral?
You will need to speak to one of the clergy. You will also need to appoint a funeral director and very often they will liaise with the clergy on your behalf to agree the date and time of the funeral. If you want a particular person from the clergy team to take the service, this should be done before any other funeral arrangements are made to make sure they are available. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter whether you speak to the clergy or the funeral director first – for many people it is a matter of starting with what they feel they can cope with first.
The clergy 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 clergy will make an appointment to meet up with you. If they did not know the dead person, then they will ask you to provide details.

The funeral director plays a very important part in all these arrangements and will want to know if the funeral is to be in one of our church or if the clergy are to take the service in the crematorium. Funeral directors know the local clergy, the local cemeteries and the crematoria. As part of a national network of funeral directors, they can, if necessary, give advice on funerals in other parts of the country, as well as on costs and fees.

Help With Funeral Costs
If you need support in helping to pay for a funeral help is available.

Walsave Credit Union Funeral Loans
Walsave Credit Union is a non-for-profit financial co-operative for people living or working in the Walsall area. In many circumstances we are able to make loans to people in Walsall who are unable to meet the costs of a funeral.

If the costs associated with the death of a family member are beyond your savings then contact Walsave. For new members, loans for funerals can be up to 3,000, dependent on ability to repay. These loans are normally paid directly to the funeral director. There is no joining or administration fee and repayments can be spread over 36 months.

To arrange an appointment phone 01922 653310 and explain that you are asking for a loan to meet funeral expenses.

For further information visit www.walsave.com for more information