I need to organise a funeral. What do I do?
Please contact your funeral director and say you’d like a church funeral. You can also contact the vicar directly.
Why would I want a funeral at church?
A funeral has two purposes – to say farewell to the deceased and to comfort those who mourn. For centuries, the church has offered a safe and peaceful space in which this can happen. Often St Leonard’s has been part of the life of the deceased, and that brings up happier memories too. Even if your faith is small, many find the words of the service, and the faith of those who meet at St Leonard’s, give them some comfort and hope.
Can anyone have a Christian funeral, even if they don’t come to church?
The answer is yes. If you live in the parish and would like a funeral service at St Leonard’s then we will do our very best to fit in with a family’s needs and the schedule of the funeral director.
Do you do funerals any day?
We don’t take funerals on a Sunday, or on Holy Days such as Christmas or Good Friday.
What happens at a church funeral service?
There are some things which have to be included – prayers, a Bible reading, a few Words of Faith from the minister and the formal words of goodbye. Families can choose to add in their own readings or poems, hymns, recorded music and so on. Usually there is a Eulogy which recalls the life and character of the deceased. Many families choose to have friends or family members contribute to the service, but some prefer the vicar to do everything. You do not have to have hymns (but we can provide an organist and often a choir if you do want some). We have a decent cd player, so that the family can choose music they think appropriate. This does not have to church music.
Can I ask the Vicar to take the service at a Crematorium instead?
Yes. The funeral director will check if the vicar is available and if not can ask another minister instead. The contents of the service are the broadly the same as in the church.
How much does a funeral cost?
The funeral director will be able to tell you this. The basic cost at the church is set by the Church of England and there may be extra expenses such the organist or minster’s travel expenses.
I’d like to be buried in the village, is that possible?
The main churchyard around St Leonard’s itself is ‘closed’. The House Lane Churchyard is an extension of the church and is covered by the same rules and fees. It is consecrated (holy and blessed) ground.
The vicar, in consultation with the PCC is delegated the responsibility to decide who can be buried there. If the deceased lived in the parish until their death then they have the right to burial in the churchyard.
If you have a family member buried in House Lane, it is possible to bury ashes in the grave, or if a double depth grave was arranged then sometimes a second or even third person can be added. You cannot ‘reserve’ or request a space. If the deceased is buried in House Lane, then that takes place immediately after a church funeral in almost all cases. It is possible to do the whole service at the graveside, but the British weather should be taken into account.
I want to be cremated. Can I have my ashes buried at St Leonard’s?
As mentioned above, if you have a family member buried in House Lane your ashes can be buried in the same grave, and later, if your family wish, your name added to any monument.
However, most burial of ashes take place at the Garden of Rest at the west end of the church. Again, you need to live in the parish to have your ashes buried there, but we also try to re-unite spouses and parents of a deceased child. Ashes at House Lane are sometimes buried in a casket, but at the Garden of Rest are always loose. The minster does this as part of a very short service. The church does not permit scattering of ashes or the partial burial of ashes – so you can’t bury half of the ashes somewhere else, for example.
I don’t agree with the expense of a funeral, but still want to be buried in consecrated ground. What are my options?
Probably the most fuss-free way is to opt for a Pure Cremation. This means the funeral director will collect the deceased, arrange a cremation and the family can then collect the ashes without any ceremony. It is then possible afterwards to hold a memorial service if wanted, or arrange to have the ashes buried in the Garden of Rest. These still incur a cost but it will probably be lower than a full funeral.
How can I remember my loved one?
Families and friends are welcome to leave floral tributes on graves and at the Garden of Rest - but these must follow the Churchyard Regulations please (No artificial flowers/plants or other loose items are allowed). You can also join our occasional maintenance mornings or donate plants and bulbs. Those who lie in the Garden of Rest can have their name added to the Book of Remembrance for a small donation. You can also sponsor the flowers in church on a particular week or attend our annual All Souls service in November.
Thinking about your own funeral?
While none of us are comfortable thinking about our own deaths, the kindest thing you can do for the people you love is let them know your wishes. You can draw up a funeral plan with a family member, the vicar or a funeral director so that when you do eventually die your wishes are known. Your family don’t have to stick to those, but most families would try their hardest to do so. It is also helpful to think about how the funeral will be paid for and please make sure your will is up to date and in safe hands.