At a time of mourning
Our services for the bereaved
Funerals at the church
At St Bartholomew’s we offer prayer and support at the time of a funeral. When anyone resident in our parish dies (see Our Parish), the funeral director will normally invite the clergy to officiate, regardless of whether the deceased attended church. The exceptions would be if the person was a member of another church, or had requested a humanist funeral. And most mourners, irrespective of whether they attend church themselves or not, generally find spiritual value and comfort in a Christian service.
When requested to conduct a funeral, we usually contact the next of kin within 24 hours and arrange to meet face to face, if possible, or at least to have a conversation by telephone, if the next of kin lives at a distance. Within the standard structure of the funeral service, we can incorporate many of your special requests. We shall discuss the content of the service, including any special readings, poems, prayers and music. We also look to you for some biographical details about the deceased, as we attempt to make the funeral more personal.
What is not so widely known is that you have the same right to request the church for a funeral as you do for a baptism or a wedding. The advantages of using the church, before moving on to the crematorium or cemetery for the committal, are:
- you are in a place which celebrates the whole sweep of life – baptisms and marriages and regular parish life – unlike a crematorium or cemetery which are only used for funerals
- there is a the capacity to accommodate more mourners – most of the cemetery or crematoria chapels seat 60 – 80 at most
- you will have real pipe organ music
- there is more time – you are not constrained by the next funeral queuing up outside.
The cost of a funeral in church is only very slightly more than one taking place in the crematorium or cemetery.
A fee is charged for the services of the minister at a funeral. It is set by the Church of England at £160.00 (+ expenses) for 2012, and will appear as part of the funeral director’s account. If you would like the organist to play at the service, the fee is £80.
Annual Memorial Service
Once a year, generally at the beginning of November, we have a special Sunday evening service to commemorate all the departed. We invite all those for whom we have conducted a funeral during the past year, but the service is open to anyone who has been bereaved.