Many of us are bewildered by approaching death and confused by the possibilities presented to us when we are faced with the need to plan a funeral. This section attempts to help those in either situation.
Ministry at the Time of Death
Clergy in the parish work in in a number of nursing homes and the hospital as do a number of trained lay people. They are all willing to support the family of those who are with their loved ones at the time of death, either by just being there, or by offering the prayers of commendation. Families can help the ministers by asking the staff at the hospital or the nursing home to call them.
Before the Funeral
The family will usually have visited a Funeral Director of their choice. The Funeral Directors then call the parish office to make arrangements about the time, the place, and who will conduct the funeral.
If the funeral is to be held in church, the parish secretary will arrange the organist and sidespeople for the service.
If the service is held either at the crematorium or the cemetery the parish secretary will arrange for a minister to conduct the service. All other aspects should be discussed with the Funeral Director, who will arrange for an organist if hymns are required.
The minister who is conducting the service will then visit the family. He will offer help and support in this difficult time as well as making the necessary preparation for the funeral service. He may wish to rehearse the story of how the person died and pick up information about what kind of person they were so that he is able to suggest readings and prayers that are suitable.
Matters to be considered include:
Is a service sheet to be prepared?
Is a special floral tribute needed in the church?
What music is to be played or sung?
What readings are to be used?
Is someone close to the family going to pay a special tribute?
Are there any particular circumstances to be aware of?
After the funeral
There is there opportunity for a memorial service. This can take one of two forms.
· The first is a service close to the cremation and in Church. Here the funeral service will be used without the Committal.
· The second is a service that can be held in Church several weeks after the funeral to enable those who wish to be present to make the necessary arrangements.
The family will be involved with the Minister conducting the service in arranging a fitting tribute.
All arrangements for a Memorial Service should be made through the parish office.
Every year, on or near All Souls Day, November 2, a service is held in church and the names of those who are to be remembered are read out in the prayer time.
There is also a special Sunday evening Service for the Recently Bereaved. Those who have been bereaved in the past year are encouraged to attend.
It is not always appropriate for the church to offer pastoral support. Many people are sustained by the love of family and friends. But if you would like a visit from the church we do have a special Bereavement Team who will visit you if you would like them to do so; please contact the parish office.
The Team also run a social group, Cuppa and Company, that meets regularly.