old headstones at St Martin’s
A funeral marks the end of a human life on earth. It provides special time and a place for friends and family to grieve for the person who has died and give thanks for their life.
Can I call for the Last Rites to be said?
If someone is close to dying you may call Caroline our Vicar (01245 364081) who will pray with you and them. This can often be after a long period of illness. Prayers of preparation and reconciliation may be saidand this can often bring comfort and a sense of peace to the dying, and to their family and friends.
Can I be buried in a churchyard of my choice?
Everyone is entitled to be buried or have their Ashes interred in the churchyard of the Parish in which they live. If you attend the church or have family ties in the parish then this is also possible at the discretion of the rector. Each of the churches in this parish has space for burials:
St John’s Little Leighs: St Mary’s Great Leighs and St Martin’s Little Waltham
What happens at a funeral Service?
Often, the deceased will have left information in his/her will concerning what they want to be included in the funeral service (such as hymns and prayers) and may also have said whether they wished to be buried or cremated. The funeral is held about a week after the loved one has died.
We welcome the opportunity to provide a service for you in church or at a crematorium.
The pattern of the service in words and actions all speak of a loving God and the preciousness to Him of every human being.
The funeral is held about a week after death. It can either take place in a church or at a crematorium. It usually takes this form:
The Gathering: the Vicar will open the service with this reading from the scriptures:
‘Jesus said, I am the resurrection and I am the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.’ John 11:25-26
Personal readings: A close friend a member of the family or the Rector may speak about the person who has died. This can be quite a personal section, reflecting on the person’s life and their role at home, hobbies, work and faith. A family member or friend may wish to read out a poem or a passage from the Bible.
Prayers: prayers of thanksgiving, penitence and readiness for death are said.
Reflection: Silent time for reflection. The congregation is given a minute to reflect on the deceased.
Commendation and farewell: The Vicar may use these words: “Let us commend (the person’s name) to the mercy of God, our maker and redeemer.” He then reads a prayer of entrusting and commending.
The committal: this is probably the most solemn moment of the service. At a burial, this is when the coffin is lowered into the grave. At a cremation, the curtains are closed around the coffin. These moving words are said: “We therefore commit (his or her) body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life.”
There may also be a selection of hymns which are sung throughout the service.
The burial follows a church service and the family and friends of the deceased gather round the grave for the Committal. You may wish to throw some earth or a rose onto the coffin. A short prayer will be said .
If I wish to be cremated can I still have a service in church first?
Yes. For those who wish to be cremated, the body is taken to the crematorium before the Commital.
Is there a special place for cremated remains in the churchyard?
Yes. Each of our churches has a Garden of Remembrance in which Ashes can be interred and the name engraved in stone. They can also be buried in an existing family grave. The Ashes are put in a container and held for you by the undertaker or given to the family. A short private time of prayer is held as the Ashes are deposited.
Memorial and Thanksgiving Service
On the Sunday nearest to All Souls Day (November 2nd) we hold a Memorial and Thanksgiving service for those who have died.names are read out and candles lit in their memory and many find comfort in this. All are welcome to attend.
Comfort is to be found in the promises of Jesus, in the hope of the Resurrection and in the belief that God loves and cares for each one of us
O God, who brought us to birth,and in whose arms we die,
in our grief and shock contain and comfort us;
embrace us with your love, give us hope in our confusion
and grace to let go into new life;
through Jesus Christ.
Common Worship: Pastoral Services (p238)