It is natural that when someone dies, their family and friends will want to come together to express their grief and give thanks for their life at a funeral service. Many will also want to commend that person into God’s safe keeping and will therefore want that service to be conducted by the local vicar or other minister either in church, or at the local crematorium or cemetery.
Everyone is entitled to a funeral service in their own parish church, regardless of whether they ever regularly attended or not. In addition, they also have the right to be buried in the churchyard if there is still space. Although it is normal for the burial (or interment of cremated remains) to take place after a service in church, your right to burial space will not be affected if you decide to have a humanist or similar funeral – the only criteria is that the service in the churchyard is carried out with respect. It is also fine for burials in our churchyard to be carried out by ministers of other denominations (e.g. Roman Catholic, Methodist etc. ) if that is what you would prefer.
We are very fortunate that at Headcorn & the Suttons we currently have space in three of our four churchyards (not Headcorn, although the Village burial ground is a very short walk from the church). However, we do have to protect the rights of all those who have an entitlement to a plot and are therefore afraid that we cannot allow burials for people living outside of the parish unless they have regularly worshipped at the church.
Our vicar, Fiona is happy to conduct funerals either in church or at a local crematorium or cemetery will be lead by you as to the tone you want set in the service. She will do as much, or as little as you want and has no problem with friends or family members doing readings or making tributes. Although there has to be a Bible Reading – and we are happy to help you choose this, it is perfectly O.K. for other poems or readings to be included in the service. Also, while it is normal to have the organ played on entrance or exit we are also happy to arrange for pre-recorded music to be played if there is something that you think might be suitable to your loved ones memory – we’ve had everything from Snooker Loopy, Leaning on a Lamp Post and Dancing on the ceiling to Time to say goodbye and other classical pieces.
Once the date and time has been set, the minister conducting the service will arrange to come and see you in your home. They will then want to get to know both you and the deceased so that they can ensure that the service truly reflects them. It is therefore good if as many family members can be there as possible and please allow 2 hours for this meeting. We will also make sure that you have our contact details so that you can get in touch if you have any other queries either now or at a later date.
We promise to do all we can to ensure that the funeral of your loved one is as fitting and appropriate as possible, no matter what your current link with our church. We also promise to be there to offer help and support no matter when you might need it.
You will also receive an invitation to our “All Souls Service for the commemoration of departed loved ones” which takes place at the beginning of November. This is a gentle and reflective service during which the names of those we love but see no more will be read out loud and you will be given the opportunity to light a candle in their memory.
WEALD DEANERY: www.deaneryintheweald.org.uk
CANTERBURY DIOCESE: www.canterburydiocese.org