Funerals

Hands holding a candle photograph by Pateek  Gautam on Unsplash

St Mary’s Church, North Mymms is here to help in your time of greatest need. We offer a Church of England funeral in our church and/or at the local crematorium. We will hold your hand, meet you and help you plan the service that is fitting for your loved one, as we commend them to God's mercy and safekeeping. We are here to offer as much support as we can before, during and after your bereavement.

Please be assured that as soon as we have news of your loss that we are holding you and your family in our prayers.

The funeral marks the end of a person's life here on earth. It's a time when family and friends come together to express grief, give thanks for a life lived and commend the person into God's keeping. These can be a small, quiet ceremony or a large occasion in a packed church. (Current regulations permitting.)

As the churchyard at St Mary’s is now closed, we are happy to conduct a burial service elsewhere or following cremation to have their ashes buried in the Garden of Remembrance regardless of whether the deceased attended church or not. 

A Church of England funeral is open to everyone and you can arrange it either directly or via your funeral director.

If someone you know and love has died, or dies within the next few days, of whatever cause, a funeral, led by a Church of England minister can be held in church, in a churchyard, by a graveside, or at a crematorium. 

We would be happy to chat with you either to help in arranging the funeral or simply to offer support. Please contact Rev Ruth Barr, vicar of St Mary’s on 07447458526 or [email protected]

After the initial news of the death of someone you knew and loved, there are some important things that need to be done. These are two of the more immediate things:

  1. Register the death. There is some helpful guidance on this on the government’s births, marriages, and deaths advice page.
  2. Meet a Funeral Director. If you’re not yet sure which one to use, you can find one near to you on the National Association of Funeral Directors’ website, or on the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) website. Simply add your postcode.

The Funeral Director will initially talk to you about what kind of funeral you would like.

Firstly, they will ask whether you’d like a burial or a cremation. If the person who died has not shared their preference, it helps to discuss this with other family members. You will be asked where you would like the service to be held.

The Funeral Director will ask about various details, including:

  • Whether the funeral should be civil, humanist or religious. Remember you don’t have to be religious or a churchgoer to have a Church of England funeral – it is open to all.
  • Whether there is a particular minister or celebrant you have in mind to take the funeral.
  • What sort of coffin you would like.
  • How you would like the coffin to be transported to the service.
  • Whether you would like flowers.
  • They might ask whether you have any thoughts on music or other special ideas to reflect the life of the person you knew. The person who leads the service will talk to you more about this.
  • Will you require an Order of Service and who will print them.

There are helpful websites that offer local contacts for some of these choices, such as funeralservicesguide.com and funeralguide.co.uk. Your Funeral Director will also have contacts nearby.

If you choose to have a Church of England funeral, someone from St Mary’s will arrange a visit, to listen to the story of the person you knew, and will go through all the details of the funeral service itself.

At the heart of every funeral led by a Church of England minister is the good news of God’s love for every unique human being. Each service is designed to reflect that love alongside the story of a particular life.

  • Where it takes place- in a church, at a crematorium, at a green burial site, in a funeral director’s chapel.
  • The structure of the day – where the service begins, whether the funeral will move from one location to another and where things will finish.
  • The choice of casket and transport
  • Flowers or not
  • Personal items at the service, such as photos or memorabilia
  • Music and hymns – sung by congregations (when permitted) or soloists or recordings
  • Readings – poetry from friends, and the whole Bible to choose from
  • A tribute or eulogy – words of thanksgiving shared by family or friends or read on your behalf by the minister
  • Prayers and reflection time
  • Donations to favourite charity
  • At the graveside and afterwards – symbols such as balloons, doves or flowers
  • If cremation – what happens to the cremated remains – burial in the churchyard or in a Garden of Remembrance

The minister will tell the story of God’s love, offering a message of Christian hope and comfort, drawing on timeless words that have helped generations of people. When the minister visits you, share your thoughts and be ready to talk about the person you are remembering. You will work together to create a service that is special and will work well on the day and honour your loved one.

  • Abide with me
  • All things bright and beautiful
  • Amazing grace
  • Be still for the presence of the Lord
  • Dear Lord and father of mankind
  • For the beauty of the earth
  • Great is thy faithfulness
  • The Lord is my shepherd
  • Lead us heavenly Father, lead us
  • Lord of all hopefulness
  • Love divine, all loves excelling
  • Old Rugged cross
  • The day thou gavest
  • The King of love, my shepherd is

John 14:1-6, 27 Jesus the Way to the Father

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 

Revelation 21:1-7 The New Heaven and the New Earth

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also, he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

1 Corinthians 13 The Gift of Love

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now, we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Psalm 23 The Divine Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
    he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Everything Has Its Time

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Psalm 139:1-18 The Inescapable God

If I take the wings of the morning

    and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light around me become night,” 

even the darkness is not dark to you; 

the night is as bright as the day,

    for darkness is as light to you.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

    Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.

 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
    all the days that were formed for me,
    when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;

 I come to the end—I am still with you.

Prayers:

As part of the prayers, we always include the prayer Jesus taught us, which we suggest printing in the order of service book:

The Lord’s Prayer                                                                                                    

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;

Thy kingdom come; thy will be done;

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,

For ever and ever. Amen.

The Church of England has a very helpful website to assist anybody who has the responsibility of organising the funeral of a loved one, or is thinking about organising their own funeral.

To access this website, click https://churchofenglandfunerals.org/

Please see below for a template of an Order of Service. Before printing, please check with the Minister that it includes all the necessary parts for a Church of England funeral.

 

  • Entrance to: name of music or song
  • Welcome and Introduction: Minister
  • Hymn: Title of hymn
  • Words of Thanksgiving/Tributes: name of family members
  • Silent Reflection or Reflective Music: name music if recorded
  • Bible Reading: Reference and to be read by…
  • Short Address: Minister
  • Prayers: Minister
  • The Lord’s Prayer said by all: traditional words printed in full
  • Hymn: Title of hymn
  • Commendation: Minister
  • Committal: Minister (If cremation, decide whether curtains will be left open or closed)
  • Blessing: Minister
  • Recessional Music: name of music or song
  • Thank-you for coming…
  • Reception at…include address
  • Donations to…name of charity/charities and how to give

From the moment you are in touch with us, throughout the funeral service, and for as long as you need us afterwards, we are here for you.