The information here is offered to help you with some of the choices for a funeral or memorial service. Sometimes the person who has died leaves instructions about what they wanted at their funeral. If so, you will probably want to respect their wishes. However, this is not always possible for all sorts of reasons, although we can give you some suggestions as to how you might honour their original intention. Where nothing was expressed, the Vicar will guide you through the planning of the service.
What about the order of service?
Providing you choose hymns that are in the church or crematorium hymn books then it is not a requirement to have an order of service. Most people do have one and it can be a nice gesture to send one to those who might have wished to attend the service but were unable to. The Rector will produce draft order of service which you can print although most people pass it on to the funeral director who will arrange for photographs to be added and for it to be printed professionally.
What is the eulogy and who gives it?
The eulogy is a short speech about the life of the deceased. Often the family would like say some words and share some memories of the deceased. This eulogy, or tribute, can be written by the family and spoken by the Rector on behalf of the family, or can be given by a family member or friend. For a funeral in church it can be up to 10 minutes long (1,000 words) and at the crematorium no more than 6 minutes long (about 600 words).
Will there be a sermon?
Yes. The sermon, or address, is given by the Rector and focuses on the Bible reading that is chosen. It seeks to provide hope and comfort at this time of need.
How many readings will there be and who reads them?
At least one Bible reading must be chosen. Other readings may also be chosen and these do not have to be from the Bible, although they must be seen and approved by the Rector during the planning of the service. Normally there are two readings for funerals in church and one or two readings (depending on the number of hymns) at the crematorium. Asking people to do the readings is a good way of involving children and grandchildren in the service.
Do we have to sing hymns?
No, we do not have to be hymns, although a service without any music is not very rewarding. Hymns can be said together by the congregation if needed We have access to some excellent organists who are able to accommodate most requests for organ music. We may also be able to provide a choir if enough notice is given. CDs can be played for a time of reflection during the service. They do not work quite so well for entrance and exit music.
Can there be a burial or interment of ashes at Saltwood or Lympne?
Both Saltwood and Lympne churchyards are open for burials and the interment of cremated remains. This does not necessarily mean that everyone can be buried here. However, a funeral service in church with a cremation or burial elsewhere is almost always possible. Those who can be buried here include:
- Those who lived (at the time of their death) in the Parish.
- Those who normally lived elsewhere, but who died in the Parish.
- Those who have a grave space reserved by faculty (or by the burial of a previous family member in a double depth grave). The PCC has recently approved a policy detailing the rare circumstances under which it would support the application for the reservation of a grave space by faculty (the legal process necessary).
Similar rules apply for the interment (burial) of ashes, except that ashes plots can not be reserved in advance. Ashes can only be interred in the Churchyard and not scattered (by anyone).
Can we have a memorial?
Family members often want a memorial to mark the place of a loved one. There are Diocesan Churchyard Regulations (available here) for the benefit and safety of all, as to the nature of such a memorial. Your funeral director or memorial mason will give guidance on the process that must be followed. We have a dedicated Churchyard Gang at Saltwood, and a smaller team at Lympne, who voluntarily maintain the Churchyard to a very high standard. Therefore, we respectfully ask you not to make their task harder by introducing unauthorised impedimetia (i.e. anything that has not received express written approval by the Incumbent or Commissary General.)