End of Life Care
One of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith is that Jesus died and rose again from the dead. In so doing he promises eternal life to those who believe in Him. In S. John's gospel Jesus teaches that he will raise up on the last day all that has been given to him (6.40) and that in the Father's house are many rooms (14.2). It is especially important that we make ourselves ready for the end of our lives on earth to enter his presence. If you yourself or a loved one are coming to the end of your earthly pilgrimage and would like to talk to us about eternal life or to be anointed and receive the last rites please do get in touch at any time day or night. The last rites are available to anyone who has been baptised, if you are able and want to you can make confession, you will be anointed with holy oil and may receive Holy Communion.
Arranging a funeral
When we die our families of course go through a very distressing time, but they always want to make sure that we get the send off we deserve, one which recognises our passing but which celebrates our life as well. One way in which we can help our families at this difficult time is to make some arrangements beforehand. For many making a funeral plan with a Funeral Director helps, others like to go further and make arrangements for the service itself. When thinking about your funeral service it is good to have a chat with the clergy, they can give you support and guidance with readings and music and can talk through the different possibilities with you.
Of course not everyone likes to plan their own funeral so if you have lost a loved one you are most welcome to get in touch and have a chat about the possibilities.
When it comes to funeral services there is a great deal of flexibility. We want to help make the service as personal as possible. Of course, there will be elements that are the same for everyone. Here are some of the options to think about:
Firstly where do you want the service, in church, at the crematorium, at a graveside, or indeed somewhere else completely? Each location will have different options.
A church service has the greatest number of options and the most flexibility.
- Coming in the night before - this is something which some people like to do, it means that they will be brought into church the evening before the funeral at a special service of evening prayer. It enables friends and family who have work commitments for the day of the funeral to have an opportunity to pay their respects through the evening. It can also be helpful if there are young children in the family for whom the funeral itself may be too emotional.
- Type of service - here at S. Saviour's there are two types of funeral service that we offer either a funeral mass so the service incorporates a eucharist praying for your soul, or a simple service which does not have a eucharist.
A crematorium funeral is almost identical to the simple service in church but with some parts omitted because of the time constraints of crematorium slots. There can sometimes be less flexibility in a crematorium because of health and safety issues if you would say, like to light candles that usually ins't possible at a crematorium; likewise because of the constraints of time much of the other ceremonial is omitted. On the other hand it does mean the whole service takes place in one location.
Crematorium funerals can be done either to the modern style service like in church or to the order found in the proposed Book of Common Prayer (1928)
A graveside service is usually quite rare these days but still an option, it is usually done using the traditional language of the 1928 Prayer Book and is a slightly shorter version of the crematorium service; normally for a graveside service there would be no hymns, music, or a eulogy; however mobile phones and speakers do make these possible if you would like them.
What music do I want?
Musical taste is as unique as we are and can be a great expression of our personalities. Think about what music is most appropriate for you or your loved one. If it is for church please think about the lyrics and whether they are suitable, the clergy will want to check them and may advise you to pick something different if they are inappropriate. Remember that the music played in and out of the church or chapel will fade out at the beginning of the service and the family are the first out at the end so if you want to hear the whole of a track it is best to listen to it in the middle of the service.
When it comes to hymns, it is always best to pick ones people know rather than ones that hymn books say are for funerals. People tend not to sing too loudly at funerals so unless you want a dodgy solo from the vicar pick something everyone will be familiar with!
What readings do I want?
Of course, there will be a Bible reading which you can select, especially if there is a passage you particularly like. If you are unsure the clergy will be happy to help you decide.
Other readings can be included too, favourite poems or passages from favourite books which reflect your character or the family's love for you, again talk them through with the clergy and they'll be happy to help.
Who's going to speak about me and what will they say?
In most funeral services someone will speak in some way about the person who has died. This should really be a member of the family or a friend rather than the priest (especially if the priest did not know the person - how odd it is when the one person who didn't know them is telling all the people that did things they already knew!) Of course, on the day this can be too much for people and most clergy are happy to read something the family have prepared, it is always better if the eulogy or tribute is written by the family rather than the priest because it sounds so much more genuine and authentic.
When it comes to the content there is no right or wrong thing to say, some eulogies are very biographical with lots of dates and details, some are more reflections on a person's character. Either way it is good to tell funny stories - laughter is very important at a funeral - or things that people may not know. If you are really worried about what people might say about you, why not write down some ideas or details about your life for when the time comes?
What will it cost?
The cost of funeral changes year by year as the government sets the fees, below are the fees for 2024 with the set fees we have to charge and the optional extras for church services (please note there is no difference in cost if you want the full rites (night before, prayers through the night and mass) or a simple service on the day.
Service in Church
To the Diocese - £124
Burial/Cremation fee (to Diocese) - £34
To the Parish Church (PCC) - £104
Basic Fee £262
Organist - £65
Music Tech and Verger - £70
Donation to the upkeep of the church
(Heating, lighting, cleaning &c.) - £58
All in Fee £460
Crematorium Services (the fee for this is the same for every Church of England Crematorium service)
To Diocese - £228
To the Parish Church PCC - £0
In the past a part of this fee was to be paid to the PCC however this year the national Church has decided the full fee is to be paid to the Diocese. The Diocese of Lichfield has decided to allow PCCs to retain a portion (£36) as in previous years.
Set Fee £228
There are so many options available to you so do get in touch and we'll be happy to help you with this most important and sensitive occasion.
If you have yet to decide upon a funeral director it is important to select one with whom you feel most comfortable; funerals are unique services and it is important to get them right.
Here are some Funeral Directors local to our part of Stoke on Trent:
Arlington Funeral Services (Smallthorne)
(01782) 711 244 funeralcare.coop.co.uk
C. McGough and Sons (Tunstall)
Williamson Brothers (Birches Head)
(01782) 212 880 williamsonbrothersfunerals.co.uk