A GUIDE TO FUNERAL SERVICES at St.Mary’s Church, Mildenhall.May God bring you His comfort and peace as you grieve.

The following is written to help you in your preparations for the funeral service:

A funeral marks the close of a human life on earth. It is an opportunity for family and friends to pay their last respects together and to celebrate the life of the person who has died. A Christian Funeral has a clear focus of celebrating a life that is given to us from God, with thanks to God for the life of your loved one and commending them to God’s safe keeping. It is a time for friends and family to express their grief, to draw comfort from God and the hope He sets before us.

Your first contact will usually be with a Funeral Director who will liaise with us as a Church and yourselves about a date and time for the Funeral service. Most funerals at St. Mary’s Church will be conducted by the Team Vicar, Rev. Sue Leathley (01638 711930), 8 Church Walk, Mildenhall IP28 7ED, [email protected] . Sometimes another minister may take your service. We will contact you, so that we can meet to talk with you about the service and content, as a Christian service of celebration and thanksgiving of a life. We will also need to get to know something of the life and character of the person who has died, especially if they are not already known to us. This helps to make the service – particularly the tribute and prayers of thanksgiving– more personal and meaningful.

A typical Christian Funeral will consist of hymns, a Bible reading(s), prayers and words of encouragement. We will talk and plan the service with you, give any appropriate guidance and help to shape the service so that it flows and is a reflection and celebration of the person’s whole life. You may like to keep in mind the following as you begin to thinkabout the service:


We encourage you to choose well known hymns which can be sung easily by the congregation. Two, or three hymns would be usual. We can lend you hymn books, so that you can look at the words of hymns to help you choose appropriately. The following are hymns which are often sung at funerals, but you may have other choices which have been favourites or are important to your family:- Abide with Me- All things Bright and Beautiful- Amazing Grace- Blessed Assurance- Dear Lord and Father of Mankind- Great is thy Faithfulness- Guide me O thou Great Jehovah- Lord of all hopefulness- Love divine, all loves excelling- Make me a channel of your peace- Morning has broken- O Lord my God (How great thou art)- On a hill far way (The old rugged cross)- Praise my soul the King of heaven- The day thou gavest Lord has ended- The King of love my shepherd is (Psalm 23)- The Lord’s my shepherd (Psalm 23)- Thine be the glory
You are welcome to use the church hymn books. Or, you may like to include the hymns in a printed order of service. You will be covered to do so by the church copyright licence. However, the name and dates of the writer of the hymn and reference to the Church copyright licence number (C.C.L.I. No.7313) will need to be put on the service sheet. We can have an organist play the music, or we can provide CDs/ MP3 of hymn music and sometimes an accompanying choir/ singer which can aid the singing (there is a fee payable to an organist, but CDs/ MP3 recordings entail no extra cost).

Other Music

It is usual to have music at the time of entering and leaving the Church. This can be played by an organist, or on a CD or from an MP3 recording. If you have a particular piece of music you would like the organist to play, this can usually be arranged, if it is suitable to be played on an organ.  Another piece of music can be played as a time to remember and reflect, within the service. Please talk with the minister taking your service. We urge you to think about your music choice carefully, as a particularly personal piece of music or song can actually cause real distress – particularly in this emotional setting – and may distract attention from the rest of the service. Often the best music to have at the start of the service will help the congregation to calmly settle and be ready to begin and at the end to draw the service to a close in a rounded and gentle way.

The Church Council has a policy which requires that any music played needs to be appropriate to the occasion and in keeping with the Christian faith. It is sometimes more suitable to play a song, or music, closely associated with the deceased person at the crematorium – if the committal is to take place there – or at the reception, or family timefollowing the funeral service. Any music (other than hymns) which you request will need to be provided by yourselves as a CD or MP3 recording on a USB memory stick. Please provide us with these as soon as possible, especially as not all CDs will play on our Church machines and we want to be sure that your music will work and can be heard. Originals are more reliable. Please mark clearly which track(s) you wish to be played.

Tributes (Eulogy) 

A tribute is part of the celebration of a loved one’s life. The minister will be often lead this celebration and life story from all that you tell us about the person’s life and character. Sometimes a family member or friend wishes to give the tribute or speak of their personal memories. This is not an easy thing to do because of the emotional nature of the occasion, so we can take the pressure from you by preparing or reading something on your behalf. If a family member is reading or saying anything, the minister taking the service will need to see this in advance. This helps us in planning the service as a whole, managing the time we have for the service and we are then there as a back-up in case the person speaking cannot continue. Please can we also have copies of any poems. We will then seek to join the service together as a whole, linking readings and prayers.

Bible Reading 

A Bible Reading needs to be included in the service. We can choose a reading if you wish, or you may like to select a Bible reading; the following are particularly suitable:

- Psalm 23 The Lord’s my Shepherd- Psalm 27 The Lord is my Light and my salvation- Psalm 121 My help comes from the Lord- John 14:1-6 In my Father’s house are many rooms- Romans 8:18-25 The future glory- Romans 8:31-39 Nothing can separate us from the love of God- 1 Corinthians 15:20-58 The resurrection of the dead- Revelation 21:1-7 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes

After the Service

Grief is an ongoing journey of adjustment. It can also be a time when spiritual questions arise. Should you wish to talk about any concerns please contact us. Visits can be arranged as well by someone from our care and prayer team, people who have a listening ear and who are experienced in the issues involved in bereavement. This year, an invitation will be sent to you to the annual Thanksgiving and Memorial service in December, along with other families for whom we have taken funerals over the year. It isa time to remember and to be with others. This is an annual event and you are welcometo come in following years. You are welcome, also, to come to any of the Sunday Services (main service at 11am) and events. Please see the monthly news informationfor details, and come and find a warm welcome.