First things first

When a funeral is arranged, you will need to see a Funeral Director and you will be asked to make a number of decisions, including:

  • Whether the body is to be cremated or buried.
  • Where the funeral will be held.
  • Who will lead the service.
  • What type of coffin should be used.
  • Whether there will be flowers, or if there is a special charity to which donations should be made from those who come to the funeral.
  • If there is a preference for the type of transport of the coffin to the church or crematorium.

This is a very difficult time but it will help you immensely if you have been able to give some thought to these questions before you contact an undertaker. If you are unsure of any of your answers to these questions your undertaker will be happy to advise you and offer suggestions.


In Cleckheaton we often work with these funeral directors. They are family firms who have served our communities for generations, and have asked to advertise with us. Other funeral directors are availiable. 


More about a Church of England Funeral

The Church of England leads over 3,000 funeral services every week and people make this choice for lots of reasons:

  • You may want a service to include hymns, prayers and a Christian message of hope or comfort.
  • A CofE minister may be well known to you, or has links with others in your family.
  • You may simply be reassured that they are trained and experienced in taking funerals.
  • Perhaps your loved one or members of the family have had links to a church over many years.

Whatever the reason, you can have a CofE funeral even if the service does not take place in a church building - for instance in a cemetry, an outdoor woodland site or crematorium. At every step, choices can be made for: the arrival at the venue, hymns (if those are wanted) or other music, readings, the eulogy, remembering and celebrating - and saying farewell.

You can choose to have the service in any of the locations mentioned above or you can choose a combination. Your undertaker and the minister you deal with can advise you on these choices depending on what facilities are available locally. You could also choose to hold the service at the crematorium, followed by a burial of ashes at a later date. Please be aware, though, that if you decide on a burial, there may be implications for the choice of headstone - make sure you discuss this with the undertaker before you make your final decision. Wherever possible family consensus on these choices is very important.

Arriving at the funeral

Would you like any music played as the coffin arrives? You don't have to, but there may be some music that that you think is just right for the occasion because it had meaning for your loved one. To help you choose, think about the mood of the music and how those attending will be feeling.


A few words of welcome and introduction will be said and then there will be space at the start of the service for a hymn if you'd like one. Hymns can often help people express their feelings in a way that words alone can't. This is a good option with a big congregation or with very well known hymns but doesn't work so well where the congregation is small because people feel self-conscious about singing, especially if they aren't used to being in church. So as well as thinking about the hymns you may know and love, bear in mind how those present will be feeling and whether singing is appropriate for that particular group of people. At the same time, you are honouring your loved one's wishes and if their wish would have been for hymns your guests should respect that decision. You can have one, two or three hymns during the service (or none). For funeral hymn ideas see http://www.churchofenglandfunerals/hymns

Personal touches

If those present at the funeral would like to pay tribute to your loved one in some way that would make the service much more personal. Consider whether someone would like to read one of the Bible passages or a Psalm, perhaps a special poem. Consider bringing a photo of your loved one or items reflecting their hobbies and interests. Many people, of course, bring or send floral tributes, although sometimes money for a charitable cause is requested in lieu of flowers.




You can have readings from literature, poems and other types of reading, as well as Bible readings. There are many Bible passages which offer comfort and hope for those who are grieving. Here are some popular examples:

  • Psalm 23
  • Romans 8v31-39
  • Revelation 21v1-7
  • John 14v1-6
  • 1 Corinthians 13

If you do not have a Bible to hand, all these can be found via a Google search. For more ideas visit http://www.churchofenglandfunerals/readings

The Eulogy

The idea of standing up and speaking in public during a time of grief is a daunting one but hearing about your loved is more genuine and personal if the eulogy is delivered by a member of the family or a close friend. It can be very cathartic when family and friends get together following a death to remenisce about the departed and these conversations with their anecdotes and remembrances often make the best basis for a eulogy. You could consider making the writing of the eulogy a group project with a number of people contributing their memories and ideas and the address itself could be divided amongst family and friends. Basic biographical facts such as where a person was born and grew up, where they went to school and worked, when and where they married etc. make a good start as well as the memories and anecdotes you have already shared with each other. Send or give a copy of the eulogy to the Vicar as back-up in case at the last minute your emotions get the better of you.


Are there any special prayers you would like to include? Perhaps prayers by name for family members and close friends in their time of mourning? Don't worry if there are not: your Vicar will be able to advise you and offer suggestions from the standard service book.

Conclusion and farewell

This is often a particularly emotional moment for those attending the funeral. There is no need to include anything extra at this point, but if there is anything special you would like to happen here, such as a piece of music, or some final words, they can be included.