Losing someone close to you is never easy. If you find yourself in this position, we are sorry for your loss, and would like to be able to pray for and support you during this time.

A funeral marks the end of a human life on earth. It is an opportunity for friends and family to express their grief, to give thanks for the life which has now been completed, and to commend the person who has died into God’s keeping.

Funeral services in the Church of England can vary greatly, from a very short and quiet time, with only a few members of the family present, to an occasion of great solemnity with music, hymns, and a church full of people. Services can be tailored to suit whatever the family feels is appropriate in order to celebrate the life of their loved one. This may include hymns, a favourite piece of music, prayers, readings and a eulogy. The words and actions of the funeral service all speak of a loving God and his longing to comfort us at difficult times in our lives.

Arranging a Funeral

Planning a funeral for a loved one can often help with the grieving process. The deceased person may have left arrangements in their Will for the service. They may have planned the service in greater detail with you. If you are not sure, then the minister taking your service can guide you through all of the arrangements. If the circumstances of the funeral are particularly sensitive, distressing or unexpected, the minister can also guide you through the special arrangements that are possible.

The first step is to approach a funeral director who will then contact us to check availability of ministers. Please don’t send arrangements out to your family and friends until the details have been confirmed with the funeral director and minister.

If the minister did not know the deceased person, then they will want to talk with you to build up a picture of the person’s life.

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 the churches here or if the minister is to take the service in the crematorium. Funeral directors know the local ministers, the local cemeteries and the crematoriums. 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.

After the Funeral

People who have lost someone close to them are often so busy with practical details and arrangements between the death and the funeral that they do not experience the full sense of their loss until later.

Grieving is a natural and important part of coming to terms with and healing this loss and it may continue for some time. We can help if you would like us to. You might find a visit from one of our team of Lay Pastoral Assistants helpful. They can listen to you, share with you in your grief, and if you would like them to can pray with you. We also have a special annual service where the church and wider community can come together to remember and give thanks for those who have died. For information about any assistance we can give, have a look on the website under Connect in Prayer, or contact us. You may also find it helpful to download our Funeral Handbook. There are some helpful links for bereavement support on the Links section of our website. We can put you in touch with the local Burnham Bereavement Cafe where you can meet with others who are in similar circumstances if it would be helpful.