Church of Scotland Funerals

The Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland is the largest Protestant church in Scotland. Its governing system is Presbyterian, which means that no one person or group within the church has more influence or say than any other.

Because it is a National church, anyone who lives in the Parish or who has a family connection to the parish can ask for a funeral service.

The Funeral Service

Recommendations for the order of service for a funeral can be found in The Church of Scotland’s Book of Common Order 1964. 

A service can take place in a church, crematorium chapel or other suitable venue. There is no set form and the wishes of the deceased and their family can often be accommodated. The service may include readings from the bible, psalms, prayers and hymns. The Minister will give a sermon and family and friends will pay tribute to the deceased. The service ends with the commendation and farewell, in which the deceased is commended to God.

The committal can take place at the graveside, in the crematorium, or sometimes in the church before the body is taken to the crematorium.

After the Funeral

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

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

What to Wear

Unless the family specify otherwise, formal clothing in subdued colours are usually worn.

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. The Church has drafted a style of undertaking which it recommends that funeral directors should be required to sign. This document can be accessed on the Church’s website.

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 donating the body to science are all acceptable.

For further information, please see:

Church of Scotland

Find a Church UK

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