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United Reform Church funerals

The United Reformed Church is mainly in the three countries of England, Wales and Scotland and is the union of English Presbyterianism, Congregationalism and Churches of Christ (Disciples).

Two men and a woman embracing at a funeral

Despite the feelings of shock and sorrow, services are considered to be an opportunity to give thanks for the person’s life.

The family is given an opportunity to personalise the service by choosing special hymns, giving a eulogy, and choosing readings in consultation with the minister conducting the service.

Approved/typical venues

Local church, crematorium or cemetery. To find a church near you, visit the United Reform Church’s website.

Length of funeral and other 'rules'

The service is usually tailored to the wishes of the family of the person who has died. The length depends on the time allocated in the church for the service, or more likely the time allocated at the cemetery or crematorium.

Often, a family member or friend will give a tribute, leaving the minister to provide a spiritual framework.

While there will be an emphasis on religious aspects, there is a growing acceptance of 'pick ‘n' mix' requests for secular music and readings.

Similarly if the person who has died or the family requested colourful clothes or other breaks from tradition, appropriate requests will be accepted.

Ministers are willing to take material from many sources and adapt it for the particular person. Funeral directors will be familiar with the local United Reform Churches and give good advice.

Things to discuss with your Minister

  • Who will do the readings?
  • Special readings, songs you want to include
  • How much are the church fees?
  • Are there other fees, for example, for the organist?
  • Should you bring your children if they are young?
  • What about a headstone to mark the grave?
  • Are there rules about what memorials you can choose?

Order of Service

Although funeral services are becoming more flexible to include more tributes and secular material, the typical order start with the Introduction followed by a Hymn, then one or more agreed prayers, a scripture reading and an address.

If there is enough time there will be another prayer before the committal - the crematorium curtains closing on the coffin, or the coffin being interred into the ground.

There is then a brief dismissal prayer or statement.

Secular music, readings and other features

These are permitted but should be discussed and agreed with the Minister.

Should we have a gathering afterwards?

There is usually a reception, wake or meal of some kind after the funeral.

Memorial services

More people are choosing to have a smaller funeral service for family and close friends with a larger memorial service, or celebratory event, later.

This is often the case if the deceased led a long and full life that many people will want to remember and celebrate.

Plan ahead

If you are planning your funeral, use our wishlist to organise every aspect. By having this in your Lifebox, it will be available for your family to carry out your wishes. (SB-L)

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