Funerals

From the moment you are in touch with us, throughout the funeral service, and for as long as you need us afterwards, we’re here for you. The Church of England is in every community, and has been helping people mark the end of life for generations.

The Church of England website HERE has a wealth of information. It might look a little intimidating at first, so take your time. If you have any questions, please get in touch. We are here to help.

 

Here at The 3 Churches Benefice

We are a local three-church benefice and within our parishes everyone has the right to ask for a Christian funeral. We consider it a privilege to walk with at this time. We look to support anyone who lived in or has a connection with the parishes to have their wishes fulfilled within their funeral and burial.

Every funeral is unique, just like we are all individually unique, but The Church of England has a structure to help you put a funeral service together without you being overwhelmed by the blank page and, as ministers, our experience means that we can help and guide you.

When Queen Elizabeth died her funeral used the very traditional language of the Common Book of Prayer, but most funerals use more modern and inclusive language, and we often use prayers that welcome a wider understanding of spirituality to help who aren’t traditional church goers connect with God in this difficult time.

We have our beautiful three churches, but also can offer funerals at Woollensbrook and Parndon Wood crematoriums, and further afield if required. We have also done graveside funerals.

 

Planning ahead

No matter how far away it may be, thinking about your own funeral service now and making your wishes known can be a comfort to you and your family in all sorts of ways. If you’re planning ahead, we are very happy to support you any way we can. You could also use this ‘Ideas for my Service’ document HERE.

 

Churchyards

Within our benefice, we have three beautiful churchyards: St John the Baptist, St Mary the Virgin at St Margarets, and St James (which serves St Andrew’s, the ‘new’ parish church). Our churchyards provide a sacred space for you to lay to rest your loved one, and to visit and find God’s peace. If you would like to find out more, please see our leaflet HERE or get in touch.

 

After the Funeral
There will always be anniversaries and special times when you miss the person who has died in a particular way. There are number of ways we can support you in your bereavement:

All Souls/All Saints
Every year, near to November 2nd, we like many churches hold special services, when anyone who wants to remember someone they love who has died can come to light a candle and say special prayers. This is known as ‘All Souls’ or ‘All Saints’. It doesn’t matter whether the funeral took place with us, these services are for everyone, and many people find it very helpful.

Baby Loss Awareness Week
To mark Baby Loss Awareness Week (9–15th October), we hold an annual Service of Remembering for all those who have lost a baby or child. This is for anyone who has either personally lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy, at birth, or in early years, or who has been affected by family members’ or friends’ loss.  Whether the loss was recent or 80 years ago, everyone is welcome to attend.

Community Hub Drop-in
We also have a drop-in every Wednesday (10.30 to 11.30am) at St Mary’s, St Margarets. This is a safe and welcoming space to come if you’re in need of a cuppa and a chat, for whatever reason.

 


It’s so difficult when you can’t go to a funeral, whether for family, friend or neighbour. This short reflection HERE has been specially written by a vicar for you to do at home, alone or with those who share your home.


 

Contact us

When you lose a loved one it raises questions about life and death, heaven and faith. We are here to help you journey through your loss, and to explore the questions it raises. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are here to support and guide you.

Rev’d Sarah Forrest, Priest in Charge
vicar@3churches.net
07488 914972 / 01920 870115

 

FAQs

Can anyone have a Church of England funeral?
Anyone is able to ask a Church of England minister to take a funeral for someone they knew and loved. Neither the person who has died nor the person asking has to be a regular churchgoer. Church of England ministers will take the funeral service for anyone who lives in their parish.

Does a ‘church’ funeral have to be in a church?
Church of England ministers can conduct funerals in four different venues:
* A church. This will normally be the church building where they are based.
* A crematorium chapel.
* A municipal or private cemetery: this might be in the cemetery chapel or just at the graveside
* A natural burial ground. Again, the service here could be in the chapel or meeting room of the ground, or at the graveside.

How do I find my local funeral director?
You might like to use a funeral director that belongs to one of the trade associations such as the National Association of Funeral Directors or the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors. If you go to their websites, you will find a local funeral director. Often, funeral directors have been working in their town for many years, and you may have heard of them by local reputation.

How much will a church funeral cost?
Funeral fees vary widely and are a combination of the Funeral Director, the crematorium and the church fees. Your Funeral Director will provide a detailed breakdown of their fees. The fees for the church part of a funeral are set nationally and can be found HERE, but we will explain everything when we plan the funeral with you.

What am I allowed to do with my loved ones ashes?
If you have had a cremation service, then the final part will be burying the ashes. This might happen within a few days or weeks and the Church of England minister who took the funeral can lead a short service. You can bury the ashes in the churchyard, or use the crematorium’s Garden of Remembrance.

Are the churches open for prayer or quiet reflection?
Our churches are not open all day, but we are very happy to find a special time for you to come in for some quiet reflection or prayer. Alternatively, you are very welcome to stay after a service.