Funerals in the Anglican Church

A Christian funeral marks the ending of a human life on earth in memory and hope. A funeral gives people the opportunity to give thanks for a person’s life and remember who they were for those who knew them. It helps people say goodbye and commend the person into God’s hands. A Christian funeral places this in the context of God’s loving presence with us as we grieve and also proclaims the Christian hope in life after death through Jesus being raised from the dead.

Organising a Funeral

After the passing of someone you know and loved, there are a few things that should be done first to prepare for the funeral.

It’s important to check if your loved one has left directions for their funeral in their will, which may outline where they would like the funeral to take place, the nature of the service and whether they would prefer to be buried or cremated.

It is often best to contact the priest first, before making contact with the funeral director. People can also contact the priest when the person is dying as the minister can assist with accompanying the person and their loved ones in preparing for death.

You can use our Find a Church tool to find the nearest or most convenient Anglican church for your needs. Contact the church and the minister will arrange to visit you and listen to the story of the person you knew, and will go through all the details of the funeral service itself.

The shape of the service

The funeral director and the priest will discuss practical arrangements for the funeral. The priest will meet with the family and spend some time with them in shaping the service in ways that reflect something about the person and provide the opportunity for people to be involved in the service in ways that are appropriate.

Funerals may be very short and quiet services with a few people present or very large (or anything in between) with one or several people speaking and can include the use of music.

The service itself takes people on a journey as they gather in God’s presence, remember the person who has died by telling something of their life story and reflect on what the person meant to them. Then we hear from the word of God and the minister reflects on that word, before offering prayers to give thanks for the person’s life lived with us as well as praying for those who mourn. Then we say farewell and commend the person into God’s hands. The committal can take place either in the church at the crematorium or at the cemetery if there is a burial. There is also the option for Holy Communion to be celebrated in the context of the funeral service, if this is desired.

Where funerals take place

An Anglican funeral service can take place in a church, a private home or a funeral home. Some funerals take place at a chapel in the Crematorium. Your loved one does not have to have been religious or a churchgoer to have an Anglican funeral – it is open to all.

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