Church of England Funerals

The Church of England

The Church of England is the established church in England. Belief in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is at the heart of the faith of its followers. Christians believe that after death the soul lives on and, for believers, it will join with God in Heaven. A Church of England funeral marks the close of a human life on earth and the commendation of the soul into God’s keeping.

The Funeral Service

A Church of England-led funeral is available to everyone. Church of England funeral services can take place in a church, crematorium, green burial site, cemetery or funeral director’s chapel. There are three alternative services (see below) and these can be personalised through choice of music, hymns, etc, to reflect the life and personality of the person you are remembering.

The three types of service are:

Traditional – taken from the Book of Common Prayer of 1662. The service in the church is followed by (although not always immediately) the committal at the graveside or in the crematorium chapel. This service is not always offered by clergy these days.

Modern – taken from Common Worship, the series of services authorised by the General Synod of the Church of England in 2000. 

Traditional/Modern Hybrid – the ‘Series One Alternative Service’ (1966), which mixes the traditional with the modern. This service is usually offered for those wanting a traditional service.

The service will include the gathering, readings, the sermon, prayers, commendation and farewell and then the committal and dismissal. The tone and feel of the service will vary depending on the personality, age and circumstances of the person who has died, with sadness and loss perhaps intermingled with feelings of gratitude and joy.

After the Funeral

After the service, it is usual for family and friends to gather together, either at home or at a local venue such as a village hall, hotel or public house. This is an opportunity for mourners to support each other, reminisce and share stories. Light refreshments may be served.

Sometimes, if it is a small, private funeral, a memorial service will take place at a later date for wider family and friends.

What to Wear

It is no longer obligatory to wear black to funerals but, unless the family specify otherwise, smart clothing in subdued colours is expected.

Charitable Donations and Flowers

It is increasingly common for charitable donations to be made to the deceased’s chosen charity, in lieu of flowers. There may be a collection for the charity during the funeral service or it can be made independently by attendees.

Otherwise, floral tributes can be sent to the Funeral Director, who will bring these in the hearse with the coffin, or to the home of the family.

Acceptable Practices

Burial, cremation, embalming and donation of the body to medical science are all acceptable.

For more information, please see:

Church of England Funerals

Find a Church UK

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