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The Church in Wales funerals

Although funerals in The Church in Wales are naturally sad occasions, Christians believe that Christ’s resurrection is the triumph of good over evil and of life over death and has made eternal life available to them.

Funeral services include remembering the person who has died, readings from the Bible, prayers relating to the deceased and their families, and hymns or other music.

They focus on celebrating the person’s life, help family and friends to express grief and loss, and remind mourners of their own mortality.

The Parish Priest usually visits the family of the person who has died before the funeral to discuss the service and offer pastoral support.

Approved/typical venues

The local parish Church.

Length of funeral and other 'rules'

The Parish Priest can help with arranging time for private reflection and devotion of those who have been bereaved at home before the funeral, in church on the eve of the funeral, and at home after the funeral.

The Church in Wales recognises that every funeral is different, and provides a wide range of services from which the family can choose.

There can be a service in church and committal at the grave or crematorium; prayers at home followed by a service in church and committal at the grave or crematorium; or the whole service can take place at a crematorium or graveside.

The funeral director will give valuable advice based on experience of the community and the funerals he or she has organised.

There can be a private burial or cremation with a memorial service later.

Cremated remains can be buried in a cemetery or churchyard following cremation.

There can be prayers at home after the funeral service, and on the anniversary of a death.

A special celebration of the Holy Eucharist (known as a Requiem) before, during or at some time after the funeral service can be arranged.

Head stone memorials have to be a certain size and type as defined by the Church in Wales Constitution.

You can choose the type of coffin to use. 'Green' coffins made from willow, recycled cardboard and other eco-friendly material are acceptable.

Some Parishes designate areas of churchyards as 'green' areas where burials are unmarked by gravestones, though some form of location identification is needed.

Marking a grave by planting a tree is not encouraged because of the space a growing tree requires.

Things to discuss with the Priest

  • Who will be the pallbearers?
  • Who will do the readings?
  • Are there special prayers, readings, songs/hymns or music you would like included?
  • Can a family member read a tribute(s)?
  • How much are the church fees?
  • Are there other fees, for example for the organist?
  • Should you bring young children?

Order of Service

The Church in Wales provides a basic order of service which is used at all funerals.

This service contains many options and alternatives so that the priest can conduct the ceremony in a way which is appropriate and helpful in any particular situation.

To view a copy of the usual Order of Service, together with some suggested hymns, visit the church’s website.

Secular music, readings and other features

Priests normally use only the form of service approved by the Church in Wales.

However, it is often possible to be flexible, by incorporating a favourite secular reading, by offering a personal tribute, by adding chosen hymns and songs, and by bringing to the service objects or symbols associated with the departed person.

As the service includes several options, the family can agree with the minister which of the alternative readings and songs are most appropriate.

Should we have a gathering afterwards?

A reception/wake is usually appropriate to allow a larger number of friends and family to mark the life of the departed. It is something to discuss with your Priest.

Memorial services

Memorial services can be arranged if the deceased or his/her family think it is appropriate. This should be discussed with your Priest as it requires a considerable amount of organisation.

Plan ahead

If you want a Church in Wales funeral, make this one of your funeral wishes. Put the wishlist in your Lifebox so that on your death your funeral wishes will be carried out. (SB-L)

 

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