Losing a loved one will always be a difficult and challenging time in your life, and planning one, either for a friend, family, or perhaps yourself, can bring up all sorts of questions. A church funeral offers a way in which the life of the deceased can be remembered and celebrated. Family and friends come together to express grief, give thanks for the life lived and commend the person into God’s keeping. This can be a small, quiet service or a large, public ceremony.

Who is eligible for a funeral at St Mary Magdalene or St Mary the Virgin?

Anyone who lives within the parish boundaries of our churches is entitled to a funeral conducted by an authorised member of our ministry team (a Priest or Lay-Reader). We also officiate at ceremonies of those who regularly attend our services but do not live in the parish. Any person who lives in the parish or is on the electoral role of the church in question may also be buried in the churchyard of that church, space permitting. Due to a shortage of available grave space, we regret that we are unable to reserve plots for future burials at Geddington.

Planning a funeral

Some people find planning the funeral with family and friends helps in their grieving. Perhaps you already know something of what your loved one wanted? You may even have planned the service together some time ago. If you wish to book a funeral with us, we ask you to contact a local undertaker of your choice who will help with the (often complex) logistics of arranging times, dates and other services.

The minister who will lead the service will outline the format of the service and help you choose suitable readings, hymns and prayers. If you wish to have recorded music played or poems read, the minister will need to have listened or read these and agreed to them before the service, just to ensure that they are suitable. If we did not know your loved one well, they will want to talk with you to build up a picture of the person’s life, this usually take only one meeting but can be more.

After the service

If you are having a cremation, we are able to inter ashes in a suitable memorial garden. At the beginning of November each year, All Souls’ Day, we hold special services at which the names of those who have died are read out. Families of those who have had funerals conducted by a minister from St Mary Magdalene or St Mary the Virgin within the past year are invited to these services. We will also read out any names of those who died elsewhere, or more than a year ago. If you would like a loved one remembered, but their funeral was not held in church over the past year, we warmly invite you to attend church in the weeks leading up to these services and add your loved one’s names to the list in church.

Next steps

If you would like a funeral at St Mary Magdalene or St Mary the Virgin or, to arrange a funeral conducted by a member of our ministry team, then please speak to your funeral director.

Questions of life and death

Each funeral and each death is different. Funerals can raise profound personal questions about the meaning of life and death, this is perfectly normal. There may not be much time around the funeral to properly reflect on these matters, but you can come back to them later. You are warmly invited to make further contact and talk to your minister about how you are feeling and the questions and thoughts this has raised in the months or years after the funeral. You are not on your own through this difficult time.