The incumbent of a parish is responsible for the Church’s ministry for those who die within the parish. The clergy should give high priority to the arrangements for the funeral, and for the pastoral care of the bereaved. The clergy should always visit the family before the funeral, whether the service is in the church, the crematorium or cemetery chapel. [Extract from C of E Guidelines]
At St Stephen’s Church, we count it a great blessing to be able to hold funerals for those who have died and to offer comfort and support to their friends and family. The clergy will give will give a lot of time and energy to prepare for the funeral. This will be both in time spent with the bereaved family, helping them to consider thoughtfully what kind of service they would like, and in planning the details, so that clergy and family together will achieve the funeral they and their deceased relative would have wished for.
If the deceased person has recently held a direct connection with St Stephens Church, or lived in the parish, we would consider it a privilege to be able to offer the church for a funeral. However, each parish is responsible for its own funerals and if the deceased lived in another parish, it is the normal practice for the funeral to be held in that parish. We would therefore, in deference to the wishes and responsibilities of clergy in other parishes, request that Funeral Directors should recommend families of the deceased to their own appropriate parish church.
We ask also that families of the deceased of St Stephen’s Parish, who may wish to arrange a funeral at St Stephen’s Church, should do so through a local funeral director, and rather than directly with the Vicar.