Most people at some time will arrange a funeral or will assist in the arrangements and many not know what options are available. This page is to help you consider what kind of funeral you would like. Preparations for funerals are sometimes best considered ahead of time while you have less pressure to decide. The fees that are payable to the Church of England can be found here, payments are normally handled by the funeral director.
Further information can be found on this site: https://churchofenglandfunerals.org/, and the site also includes the ability to light a virtual candle: https://churchofenglandfunerals.org/light-candle/ and some prayers: https://churchofenglandfunerals.org/prayers/.
Options for Cremation
1. A service at the Crematorium only
The Crematoria have chapels and the length of the service time is limited to 20 or 30 minutes. The coffin is normally placed at the front of the chapel, and when it is time to say goodbye (the committal) curtains are drawn that separate the coffin from the mourners. However, the curtains don’t need to be drawn if you do not wish this to happen.
2. A service in church first
Some people prefer a funeral in their local Parish church before going to the Crematorium. You don’t have to be a church goer to have this. There is no time pressure in church and it is a place where worship happens each Sunday, as well as other life events such as Baptisms and Weddings. The coffin is carried in and placed towards the front of the church, in the centre. After the service, the pall bearers process the coffin back to the hearse.
Sometimes refreshments are served in the church rooms or in the church after the service, which can be convenient for guests.
At the end of the service, two options are possible:
i) The committal can be said at the door or just outside the church door and then the funeral director can take the coffin to the crematorium either alone or with the priest. This is a good option if the family wish to have only one service and not move from one building to another.
ii) After the church service has been completed there is a service at the crematorium which can be very short or longer depending on the wishes of the family.
This service can be attended by everyone or simply the close family. However, if it is just the close family who go to the Crematorium then the other guests have a time of waiting before the close family return.
3. A service in the church after the Crematorium
Alternatively, the service in the Crematorium can take place first, either for the close family or for everyone. This is then followed by a service in the church. This is called a “memorial service” and is much more flexible than a “funeral service” in terms of the structure, readings, prayers and so on. More is said about memorial services later on this page. A display with a picture of your loved one can be the focal point rather than the coffin. This is can be a good option as the refreshments in the church can then take place straight after the service. However, some families feel the service would feel empty without the coffin as the focal point, so this option is not appropriate for them.
Options for Burial
There are three types of places where people are buried – a churchyard, a council run cemetery or a privately owned burial site (often a woodland site).
1. A churchyard
St John’s Churchyard is open and available for anyone who lives in the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale. Being buried in a churchyard is less expensive than any other burial option (or indeed cremation) and you have a legal right to be buried in your Parish churchyard if it is still open.
However, there are a number of restrictions about the shape and size of the memorial and what can be put on the grave in a churchyard.
2. A Council run Cemetery
Plots are available to purchase, normally for a period of 50 to 75 years with options to pay to extend that time. Memorials can be more colourful and some ornaments are permitted, although the cemeteries differ on this. Cemeteries have both consecrated (blessed) and non-consecrated areas. Some cemeteries will permit two or more interments in a single grave. In this Parish, the Cemetery opposite St Mark’s church is owned by the council as is the Cemetery in Badshot Lea. Spaces can be reserved.
3. Woodland Burials
There are now over 100 green or woodland burial sites. We have a site that has just opened in the Parish, located adjacent to St John’s Church.
Options for Burial Services
1. Graveside only
Most cemetery chapels are no longer in use, but it is possible to have a service just at the graveside. However, this will normally be short and not involve hymns or other music.
2. Church Service first
Many families prefer to use their local church for the main part of the service before the burial takes place. There is a charge for the service in church, but it provides an opportunity for a longer service and for a larger number of people to attend. If the burial takes place after the service in the churchyard, then the mourners merely walk from the church to the graveside. However if a cemetery is used then this involves a short drive to the graveside.
A memorial service is conducted in a church or chapel where the deceased person’s body is not present. The service is sometimes held some time after the funeral to permit a greater number of people to attend because of the greater period of notice given, although it can follow on from a burial or cremation.
Burial of Ashes
Ashes may be buried in St John’s churchyard, either in an existing family grave or in the Memorial Garden. A short service is normally carried out at the graveside to inter the ashes.