Planning a Funeral: Customs and Grieving
Updated July 13, 2017
By Canon Ed Swayze
When a Person is Healthy
When a Person is Dying
- private confession, "None must, all may, some should"; and
At Time of Death - in hospital
At Time of Death - elsewhere
- the police are called, in case of foul play and they do an investigation; and
- an autopsy must be done to determine cause of death, which may delay the funeral.
Planning a Funeral
- is a celebration of the person's life where we express our thankfulness for the person's life;
- expresses religious belief: God working through the person as he or she lived his or her life, and the Christian hope of the resurrection; and
- may address pastoral concerns i.e. child, how the person died, family issues.
- a prayer of committal to the fire is an Anglican practice;
- decide when does cremation take place: before funeral or after funeral;
- decide whether cremains may be present or not at the funeral;
- decide when the interment of ashes takes place; and
- if there is no funeral director, the family contacts the cemetery or mausoleum to make arrangements for the internment.
- consider people traveling from out of town who may wish to attend;
- the funeral will be about 45 minutes; 60 minutes with a Eucharist; and length may be longer if there are a number of people giving a eulogy or if there is additional music.
- if there is to be an cremation and/or internment, check with the crematorium and cemetery for their hours; and
- they do not work on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, and
- allow for travel time from the place of the funeral to the crematorium/cemetery, 20 minutes travel plus 10 minutes to get organized.
- originally in the home of the deceased, may be done at the funeral home or in the church building;
- a time for family and friends of the deceased to talk, often about the deceased;
- viewing of the body is encouraged;
- if the body is present, it is embalmed;
- cremation may take place after the visitation; and
- a visitation is not as common as it once was due to the expense.
- where the funeral will take place;
- whether there will be a casket or cremains;
- a memorial service is a funeral service, but the casket or cremains is not present.
- what the arrangements are for an internment;
- whether there is a eulogy (a talk given by family member or friend about the deceased person) and who gives it;
- which service book to use:
- Book of Alternative Services (BAS) or Book of Common Prayer (BCP);
- whether there will be a Eucharist (communion, mass),
- normally it is celebrated in the church building;
- what scripture would the family like to suggest:
- 1 or 2 readings and a Gospel (BAS page 604 has suggested readings), and
- a non-biblical reading may be read;
- what hymns the family would like sung;
- if the family does not wish to choose readings or hymns, the clergy will select them,
- family can choose not have hymns;
- sometimes music that the deceased found meaningful may be played:
- the family would provide the music; and
- whether the family would like to involve their family or friends in reading the scripture or leading the prayers of the people, and if there is a Eucharist people to present the gifts:
- involving family or friends of the deceased by asking them to take part in reading, etc. is particularly helpful, and
- clergy read the Gospel.
- that the building will be open an hour prior to the funeral, unless arrangements made to open earlier;
- if flowers are going to be dropped off earlier, arrangements need to be made to have the building open;
- bringing a picture of the deceased to place on a table;
- bringing a guest book:
- family provides it if the funeral home doesn't; and
- bringing donation cards:
St. Stephen's memorial donation envelopes are available for donations to St. Stephen's, and
for other charities the family should provide them, and the family is responsible for delivering the donations.
Click here for Fee Schedule/Parish Hall Rental.
- vigil party at the visitation;
- Canadian flag/Naval Ensign draped over the casket/urn,
- this may be done with a veteran;
- guard with the funeral procession (going to the church and then to the cemetery);
- firing party at the committal (3 volleys to symbolize the Trinity);
- burial at sea; and
- navy chaplains may inter ashes at sea of veterans.
Children's Participation in a Funeral
Dealing with Stress
- eat, and eat as healthily as possible;
- moderate alcohol and caffeine intake;
- get adequate rest;
- exercise, walk;
- do "normal" things; and
- talk with people who care about you: family, friends, clergy.
- fill time;
- make new friends;
- learn new skills; and
- start new activities;
- talk with people; and/or
- write in a journal or write letter to deceased;
Context of Christian Faith