The purpose of this page is largely to give some examples of readings, hymns, poems that are suitable for a funeral service for those who would find it helpful.
It is possible to have a funeral service in church followed by a cremation at the Crematorium.
A coffin may be brought into the church on the evening or morning of the service to allow the family time on their own before the funeral service. It is also possible to hold the funeral within a celebration of Holy Communion (A Requiem Mass) but obviously only when the service takes place in a church. Holy Communion can be celebrated at a funeral. This is because it is a celebration of the resurrection, and a sacramental means by which Jesus strengthens and binds together His church.
A memorial service can be held after a private funeral service. These decisions are often very personal ones and can be discussed with the priest.
The aim of the funeral service is to remember and thank God for the life of the person who has died, to say goodbye to them, and to reaffirm one’s trust in a forgiving and loving God who gave the gift of their life and to whom they return. Also, in the sharing memories and grief, to give comfort and support to others who are present, and to seek God’s help.
A funeral service or a memorial service usually includes two or three hymns, one or more readings, prayers and an eulogy. The readings may include a Psalm, which is said by all, a bible reading, and one or more poems or pieces of literature. A bible reading is always read. The most commonly chosen bible readings are John 14:1-
Sometimes the family will know of a particular reading that meant a lot to the deceased, or that reflects something about them. A PDF of possible poems and readings can be found here.
Family members may write a poem especially for the occasion, or produce something visual or musical.
A piece of music may be chosen to be played after the eulogy to allow for a time of reflection. It may be a piece of sacred music, or a song associated with the departed, or one they loved.
(Click on title to follow link where available.)
Abide With Me
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Be Still and Know That I Am God
Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord
Be Thou My Vision
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
Eternal Father, Strong to Save
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Just as I am
Lord Jesus Christ
Lord of all Hopefulness
Make Me a Channel of Your Peace
Morning Has Broken
O God, Our Help in Ages Past
O Lord my God (How great thou art)
On a Hill Far Away (The Old Rugged Cross)
There is a Green Hill
The Day Thou Gavest, Lord Is Ended
The King of Love My Shepherd Is (A version of Psalm 23)
The Lord’s My Shepherd (Also Known As Crimond)
Thine Be the Glory
The following is a possible outline order for a funeral service but the final order is usually arrived at after discussion with the family:
Information covering rights of burial and interment of ashes, and guidance about monuments and headstones in the benefice churchyards can be found here.
The Memorial Arts Charity works with over seventy fine lettercarvers, encouraging Britain’s long tradition of lettercarving to flourish and has created a network of many of the finest independent designers and lettercarvers working across the UK.
The Memorials by Artists website was commissioned by the Memorial Arts Charity and offers help and advice on all aspects of commissioning a unique commemorative work of any kind.
The loss of someone close is a distressing experience. In addition to the support provided by your priest at such a time, a number of organisations provide help, support and counselling.
If you do not have the money to pay for a counsellor and are bereaved then get in touch with Cruse Bereavement Care and a counsellor may be able to come to your home. You can also get low cost counselling from SCDA in Newhaven, Halisham and Lewes, or from Counselling Plus in Eastbourne.
The Counselling Directory is a confidential service that brings together the information required to help individuals find a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist in the local area and encourages those in distress to seek help. The directory contains information on many different types of distress, as well as articles, news, and events.