We recognise that the early hours and days of bereavement are a disorientating and busy time. We hope that this information will be helpful to those who are bereaved, as well as those who are thinking ahead about their own funeral. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to arrange a funeral for a loved one, discuss your own funeral plans, or if you are simply looking for more general information about funerals.
- lives in the parish
- dies in the parish
- is on the electoral roll of the parish
is entitled to have a funeral in the parish church, or to have the clergy of the parish conduct their funeral at a crematorium or graveside, or to have a memorial service, regardless of whether they are churchgoers. We have space available to inter ashes at both Christ Church and Holy Cross, and space for full burials in existing family graves at Christ Church. You can check the parish boundaries here.
We offer a personalised and pastoral approach, which begins the day that you first make contact, and continues for as long as you need our support in the weeks and months after the funeral. A Church of England funeral service can be shaped by you and tailored to your wishes. It will always include a message of hope which places the pain of grief into a bigger context of the eternal life and love that we find in God.
Information on this page is divided into four sections:
Preparing for death...
It is never too early to start thinking about your own death. Far from being a morbid activity, people who are able to face this reality find that they are free to live more fully and joyfully, without trying to suppress the fear that one day, they too will die.
Families arranging a funeral find it easier to make choices when they know those choices are informed by the wishes of their loved one.
If you would like to think about arrangements for your own funeral, you might find it helpful to use our funeral arrangements form, which you can download here:
If you are caring for someone who is close to death, we are able to offer support to you and them. We can:
- Pray with you and the person who is dying, including anointing with oil and prayer for spiritual and emotional healing
- Hear confession
- Offer prayers at the moment of death (also known as the “Last Rites”)
- Listen to you if you need a safe space to talk
- Signpost you to practical support
- Offer a place within the wider worshipping community and social life of the parish
If we can help in any of these ways, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you want to read an accessible and sensitive book about the physical process of dying, we recommend Dr Kathryn Mannix’s book With the End in Mind. For spiritual reflections written for those facing death, we recommend Rachel Boulding’s book Facing Death: Bible readings for special times.
Immediately after a death...
If someone you love has just died, you might be feeling a range of emotions, or you might feel numb. Take things an hour at a time: you are in new territory and no one knows how grief will affect them until it happens. It is likely you will have a large amount of tasks to keep you busy in the days following the death, and it might be several days or weeks before the impact of bereavement hits.
If you would like a Church of England funeral service, either in church or in a cemetery or crematorium, please let your funeral director know this. It is advisable that they or you check our availability before committing to a final date.
Once a booking is made, we will contact you and arrange to visit you and other family members at home. We will listen to your family story, and we would love to hear about the person who has died. We will guide you through the choices you need to make about the funeral service, and help you shape something which honours the person’s memory but also offers an account of hope and faith. It doesn’t matter whether or not you or the person who has died are religious – we often find that many are in touch with God in very deep ways, often described as “spiritual but not religious”.
We are able to personalise funeral services, and so you may like to think about particular poems, readings, hymns and music that feel appropriate to you. Usually a Church of England funeral service will also include a reading from the Bible, the Lord’s Prayer, a Commendation, Committal, and blessing, but within this framework we are highly flexible and will work with you to shape something that feels right.
You might find this ‘step by step’ guide helpful, particularly as it contains some suggestions for hymns and readings. There is also lots of information from the local authority on the Trafford Council website.
The pastoral care and support that we offer for those who are dying and bereaved is part of our parish ministry, and is naturally free of charge. Funeral services and interments do incur a statutory fee, set by the national Church, but this is generally a very small percentage of the overall funeral cost.
To arrange a funeral, the best thing to do is to contact us as soon as possible, and we will talk you through the process from there.
Living with bereavement...
We know that bereavement doesn’t end after the funeral, and we offer ongoing support for all who are bereaved, no matter how much time has elapsed. Some find comfort in attending our church services and events, where they meet others who have been through difficult times and make new friends.
Others find comfort in our annual memorial service, held in early November. If we have taken a funeral for you in the past year, then you should receive an invitation to this service, but everyone is welcome. As part of this, we read out the names of those we mourn, and remember them before God with joy and sadness.
We can also offer ongoing pastoral support, if you need someone to listen to and pray with you. We are only ever a phone call or an email away, and if you feel that your grief is becoming unmanageable we will be able to signpost you on to further help.
Funerals during the Covid-19 pandemic...
If you or someone you love dies during this time of social distancing, you are still able to have a Church of England funeral. Presently we are conducting these at crematoria and at gravesides, as we are not allowed to hold services in church buildings. The service may be slightly shorter than you would otherwise have planned, and there may be fewer mourners.
However, we are still able to offer a personalised and comforting funeral which places your grief within the bigger account
of eternal life and love. You may also like to think about planning a memorial service for a later date, and we would be delighted to accommodate this at either church.
We are also still offering pastoral support by phone, including the Last Rites, and we can support you by phone or online in the days and weeks after a bereavement if needed.
St Paul’s Cathedral have launched an online memorial book for all who have died of Covid-19, and you can register their name, and view other entries, on this website.
If you are unable to attend a funeral which is still happening with others attending
- Download a simple service to say at home if you are unable to attend a funeral here.
- Why not take a few moments to think, write, or draw some of your memories of the person? Later you may be able to share that with others at a special memorial service.
- You can still pray at home – see here for some ideas.
- You could also read a poem or look at Psalm 23.
- You can light a candle online by following this link.
- You could write a card to others who are missing the person you are grieving.
- Remember that when this crisis is over [and it will pass] there will always be services for remembering organised by the church and anyone can go to these services.
- It may be possible to follow a copy of the order of service that the family have prepared, or to watch the service via a livestream (many funeral venues are offering the latter).
- It may also be possible for the local church to help you organise a formal or informal service to remember afterwards.
If you were unable to say goodbye
This is particularly hard, and the best thing to do is to talk to someone about your feelings. Many of the things above will also help, and there are prayers that might help here.
Again, lighting a candle online might help.