A funeral is the opportunity for friends and family to express their grief and to give thanks for the life of someone they love. Our vicar is available to lead funerals and the church itself can be the setting for a Church of England Funeral or Memorial Service for those in the parish. Anyone who lived in the Parish of Westerham at their time of death, or died in the parish (or who was on the church electoral roll or whose burial has already been agreed by faculty) is entitled to have their funeral or thanksgiving service in St Mary’s, regardless of whether or not they attended church services here.
If you’ve just been bereaved, your first point of contact will normally be a funeral director. If you’d like us to be involved in the funeral, or if you’d like to hold the funeral in church, please ask the funeral director to contact us before the date is fixed so we can make sure that someone is available. (Please note that we are not usually available to take funerals on a Friday or during Holy Week (Easter) or the week after Christmas.)
We are able to offer the following at St Mary’s:
· Funeral in church and burial in the churchyard.
· Funeral in church. This can be followed by a ‘lychgate committal’, which may be helpful for families wishing to go straight on to any ‘wake’, or with a separate short committal at the crematorium.
· Funeral at the crematorium.
Once the funeral is booked, the vicar will arrange to come and meet the next of kin to talk about the arrangements and make sure the service is a fitting tribute to the deceased.
After the funeral, usually some weeks or months after, we can also discuss the following:
· Memorial/thanksgiving in church.
· Interment of ashes in the churchyard.
Please contact us directly through the parish office to discuss the interment of ashes or before arranging for a headstone to be put in place. (You can download our Guidance booklet on the Churchyard below.)
The funeral is a time to acknowledge your sense of grief and sorrow, but within us we may continue to carry that sense of grief and sorrow caused by the love we had for the person who died. If you wish you can meet with our vicar again, or we can arrange for a visit from our Pastoral Care Team.
We also hold a special annual “Light Up A Life” service in conjunction with the Hospice in The Weald for those who have been bereaved in recent years and who would like a public opportunity to remember their loved ones. Please contact our parish office for details
To read more about funerals in general, visit the Church of England website.