Following a bereavement one of your first steps will be to get in touch with an undertaker. The undertaker will, in turn, give you details of local churches and arrange a contact where you can discuss your funeral requirements.
Funerals can be held in a church followed by a burial or cremation, or the whole service can take place at the crematorium. Services at the Chelmsford Crematorium are of thirty minutes duration unless a longer time slot is arranged in advance. This will have all been discussed and agreed by the clergy with the closest family.
The Church of England welcomes and encourages people to use their parish church for funerals, even if they are not regular church goers.
Funerals can vary in length depending on the wishes of the bereaved (or maybe the wishes of the deceased prior to death). The purpose of a funeral is both to say farewell and to celebrate the life of the deceased and can be personalised in a number of ways.
On the day of the funeral the minister will meet the coffin at the entrance to the church, welcome everyone and introduce the service.
There will usually be at least one Bible reading and sometimes more, prayers, hymns and a short homily. It is acceptable and not unusual for close family members or friends to say a few words about the deceased person.
There will be a few words of farewell and the deceased will be commended to God.
Probably the most solemn and emotional part of the service is the committal which takes place when the coffin is lowered into the grave, or when curtains are drawn in front of the coffin at the crematorium, or in the church immediately before the deceased is transported to the crematorium. If they wish, the bereaved family may request that the curtains remain open at the crematorium.
The service will end with a blessing
It is not unusual for those close to the deceased to find it very difficult to cope after the funeral and to come to terms with their loss. Members of the clergy are always available to help in such circumstances.
Sometimes it may be appropriate to hold a memorial service in church following a funeral at the crematorium.
It is quite likely that there is a bereavement support group in your area so perhaps it would be worth looking round for one as this can be of inestimable help in the early days. If you are in the Maldon area, we recommend you to contact the support group at the United Reformed Church. This link gives details.