Funeral arrangements

The death of someone we love is probably the most devastating experience that will ever happen to us. It may be sudden or expected, peaceful or traumatic. During this difficult time, we at St James are here to help you and your family. We regard bereavement support and the taking of funerals as an important part of our parish work.

You will need to contact the Parish Office and a Funeral Director as soon as possible; they will advise on practical arrangements. The minister will want to meet with you at the earliest opportunity, to offer help and advice in planning the funeral service as well as do all they can to support you.

Funeral arrangements should be considered carefully. Try to have someone with you. Do not be afraid to ask the Funeral Director for an estimate of the cost of the funeral and details of how the money will be spent. Try and think what you really want.

Burial or cremation

The funeral service can take place either in St James church (followed by a burial or cremation) or at the crematorium. Having a service in church does not commit you to having your loved one buried in the churchyard. St James church has an area where ashes can be interred at a later date. The person who has died may have left instructions about what they want in their will. Please check with the executor of their estate. Family members may also have strong feelings about the subject and so it is important that you talk to your family about each other’s wishes.

Planning the service

A funeral or Service of Thanksgiving marks the close of a human life on earth and provides an opportunity for family and friends to express their grief and to give thanks for a person’s life as well as handing them over to God’s loving care.

There is a simple format for the Church of England funeral service. If the person who has died was a regular communicant, the funeral may take the form of a Communion service.

The service will follow a basic Anglican liturgy but you will be able to personalize it with special hymns, music, bible verses, prayers or readings.  Typically, the service starts with the funeral sentences, includes readings, an address, prayers, the commendation and committal interspersed with hymns as appropriate.

You may want the immediate family to follow the coffin into the church; other people may find it more helpful to arrive at the church knowing that the coffin is already in place in the church. Some people prefer there to be lots of flowers, where some may just wish to have family flowers.

You may want to consider a personal tribute. This is a very sensitive issue and you may need to consider who you would like to speak about your loved one. The clergy have a lot of experience in this area or you may want a family member or close friend to do this. Some family members may want to write down a few sentences to be read aloud by the minister or the person giving the address.

At the end of the service it is usual to have a retiring collection. This is often for a charity which relates in some way to your loved one. We do ask that you appoint someone to be responsible for the collection by the doors of the church at the end of the service. You may want to include the name of the charity on the printed Order of Service.

After the funeral

The death of someone close to you can be devastating and you may experience emotions that you have never felt before. Grief is a very individual emotion and it is common to experience a wide range of emotions such as shock and disbelief. All these feelings, though at times overwhelming are normal.

If you need any help please do not hesitate to contact the parish office. We can then arrange for a minister to visit you and see how we can support you.

All Saints service, Easter Lilies and memorial pages

Every year on All Saints Day, a service is held at St James and everyone who has died during the past year will be remembered. During the service, people are given the opportunity to place a lighted candle in remembrance of their loved one.

Traditionally, at Easter we invite people to give an Easter lily in remembrance and to celebrate the Easter promise.  Contact a churchwarden or the parish office to make donations for this.

You can also have a memorial page on this web site, containing a photograph, or a favourite poem, or some remembrances. This is useful for today’s often scattered families and to help the younger generations to understand their grandparents and great grandparents.  Have a look at our virtual churchyard to see some of our current memorials.

For burials and cremations in our real churchyard, there are strict regulations about memorial stones. Please contact the parish office to discuss your requirements.

The parish church of St James is open during the day and you are welcome to visit and find a place of peace, quiet reflection and the presence of God. When someone we love dies we do not forget them. We continue to think about the times we spent with them, remembering their joys and sorrows and the love we shared. As Christians we believe in the joy of heaven, we know that death is not the end. We believe that those who die in the faith and love of Christ are alive with Christ for ever.