Organising a funeral service can feel like a daunting task, especially if you have not done it before. This is why the clergy are here to help you, they will guide you through the process so that you can create a service which will be a fitting tribute to your loved one. Before meeting with the member of clergy who will be conducting the funeral service you may find it helpful to consider the following points:
The first thing to consider is do you want the service to take place in a church or crematorium. Even if you are not a regular church attender, there can be advantages in holding the service in church – for example it may give you a bit more time than if holding the service in the crematorium, if in doubt please speak to a member of the clergy.
Music and Readings
Download a guide with a selection of hymns and readings suitable for a funeral HERE.
Entering and leaving the Church
It is normal to have music entering and leaving the church/chapel. This can either by played by the organist, on CD or increasingly now the music is downloaded on your behalf by the Funeral Director (as is the case for funerals at Streetly Crematorium). When thinking about what music to play, consider what music your loved one liked, or music which you feel represents them. If you are not sure what music to choose, the organist at the funeral would be happy to choose something appropriate for you. Or if you prefer you can enter or leave the church/chapel in silence.
Music for Reflection
When the funeral service takes place in church, you may want to consider the possibility of have a period of musical reflection in the middle of the service (usually after the tribute) played either on the organ, on CD or downloaded. This gives an opportunity for some space in the service for people to reflect on the life of the deceased, and have time for their own personal thoughts and prayers.
If this is something you would like to include in the service, give consideration to what music you would like played.
Because time is more limited at a crematorium, if you want a period of musical reflection, it would be better to have only one hymn rather than two.
People normally have two or three hymns at a funeral (because of time constraints, if the funeral is taking place in at a crematorium it is best to have no more than two hymns). In choosing hymns, think about hymns your loved one liked. It is good to go for hymns which will be well known by the congregation.
At a Christian funeral we have at least one reading from the Bible. When choosing this reading think about whether there was any passage of scripture that was special to your loved one, or to yourself. If you are not sure what Bible reading to choose, the person conducting your service will be happy to offer advice and guidance. You may also want to choose a poem or other reading to be read at the funeral. Consider who you would like to do the readings, if you cannot find anyone to do the readings, the person leading the service will be happy to do the reading for you.
Who would you like to lead the tributes at the funeral? The person conducting the funeral will be more than happy to lead the tributes on behalf of the family, but if there are others who would like to speak as well this is normally fine. If you would like to write your own tribute, but get the person leading the service to read it on your behalf, then this is no problem at all. All we ask if that you give us a copy of your tribute (preferably typed), at least two days before the funeral.
A crematorium service lasts 20-25 minutes, and therefore this must be born in mind when preparing the tribute (bearing in mind that there will also be hymns, readings, and prayers in the service).
At many funerals people often have a retiring collection to support a charity.
Help to organise the service
Do not feel overwhelmed by the task of organising a funeral, the clergy are there to help you, and answer any questions you may have.
Organising your own funeral service
If you are planning your own funeral service, please ensure that your next of kin are aware of your wishes.