After a death…
When somebody you love dies, there’s a lot to think about which may feel overwhelming at the time. It can be helpful to remember that no one is ever alone – even though we may feel we are!
An ancient Hebrew song writer wrote: 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. Psalm 23:4
God’s love and power extend over all creation so every life, including our own, is precious to Him. Christians believe that there is hope in death as in life, and that there is new life in Christ after death and that there will be a time when there is no more suffering, no more tears, and death will be no more.
Every death is a shock (however expected) and different. You might feel numb at first then a mixture of grief, gratitude, joy and anger – perhaps all mixed together. You might be hurting with the tragedy of an unexpected death, or perhaps you are grateful for a long and fruitful life.
Deaths can raise profound personal questions about the meaning of life and death, this is perfectly normal. There may not be much time around the death and to properly reflect on these matters, but you can come back to them later and talk to your minister about how you are feeling and the questions and thoughts this has raised. At St Mary’s we have a number of people familiar with bereavement available to just listen and help support you. For further information please contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support us, O Lord,
all the day long of this troublesome life,
until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,
the busy world is hushed,
the fever of life is over
and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in your mercy grant us a safe lodging,
a holy rest, and peace at the last;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Planning a funeral service
To help with the very real sense of loss at a death a service is usual to mark the end of a person’s life here on earth. The service, a funeral or ‘A thanksgiving for the life of X’, helps to express our faith and our feelings. Family and friends gather to give thanks to God for a life lived, commend the person to God’s care, say farewell, mutually acknowledge loss and sorrow, and reflect on our own mortality.
St. Mary’s Church, Princes Risborough, is the parish church for Princes Risborough. Everyone living and dying within the boundaries of the Parish of Princes Risborough whether or not they were churchgoers is entitled to have a funeral service or thanksgiving service taken by one of the church’s authorised ministers. The service forms a part of ongoing care during bereavement which the church offers.
The graveyard at St Mary’s is now full and closed for burials (excepting where there are existing family graves with reserved space). There is still some space for interment of ashes. Burials within Princes Risborough parish now take place at the Stratton Memorial Garden and are subject to their conditions and regulations as set out by Princes Risborough Town Council.
Some people find planning the funeral with family and friends helpful. Perhaps you already know something of what your loved one wanted. You may even have planned the service together some time ago. The minister who will lead the service can help you choose suitable readings, hymns and prayers and help offer comfort and support. They will want to talk with you to build up a picture of the person’s life. This may take only one meeting but sometimes it can be more. In such a service it is required by the Church of England that there is a Bible reading and prayers.
Some deaths will be especially traumatic, distressing or unexpected. The Church has special funerals for children, or after sudden or violent deaths, including suicide. Talk with your minister about what is possible.
- Funeral or Thanksgiving service outline pattern
- Choosing hymns and music
- Suggestions for Bible readings
- Service orders
- Costs of funerals service
The Church of England website also has useful information: