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Basic outline for a Funeral Service

You may find the following information useful when arranging a funeral service for your loved one. These are guidelines based on the traditional form of service held in church.

Many services now take place in the chapel of a crematorium and are time restricted. Under these circumstances services, by necessity, tend to be shorter with perhaps the inclusion of only one hymn. The length of this service would need to be verified with your Funeral Director and Minister / Celebrant.

Processional / Opening Sentences

Recited by the minister or celebrant as he/she leads the mourning party into church/crematorium and may be accompanied / followed by a piece of Processional music of choice.

The Welcome

Also referred to as The Gathering: this normally would take the form of a few sentences of Scripture which are read by the minister.

The minister introduces the service. A hymn may then be sung.
Tribute (also referred to as The Eulogy)

Usually delivered by a member of the family or a friend, a tribute takes place if the sermon is to be separate.

(Opening) Prayers

The minister leads a selection of prayers, ending with The Collect.

These are often read by a member of the family or a friend. There are usually two readings at least one being scriptural; the second may be a specially chosen piece of poetry or prose. If just one of the readings is scriptural, this is usually from one of the New Testament Gospels.

The readings may be followed by a Psalm which can be responsorial or take the form of a hymn.
The Sermon or Address

A short talk delivered by the minister/celebrant. If there has been no separate tribute earlier in the service, it will be incorporated in the sermon/address and have a personal theme.

The minister leads a series of prayers, ending as everyone joins together to say The Lord's Prayer.

A final hymn may be sung.

Alternatively, a piece of music may be played for mourners to have a Moment of Quiet Reflection

The Prayer of Commendation and final Blessing

Said by the minister and may be followed by ...

The Recessional

A piece of music of choice as the mourners leave for the ...

The Committal  (see sidebar)

The Committal

This can take the form of …


This can either be in a location adjoining the church or at a different location. Mourners will gather around the graveside when the minister will read the words of committal as the casket is lowered into the ground. Handfuls of earth may then be scattered over the casket by the assembled mourners.


The commendation can take place in a church before the mourners depart for the crematorium. Alternatively the whole ceremony can be held in the crematorium chapel. Words of committal are read as either the curtains close or as the coffin slowly moves away and can be accompanied by music. The minister/celebrant will then give a final blessing before mourners leave the chapel.

Items to include

when ordering

-  Full name and age of deceased

-  Dates (if required) of birth

   and death

-  Date, time and place of funeral

   service and committal

-  Name of officiating minister

   or celebrant (if required)

-  Hymns (title or first line only

   required - unless otherwise stated,

   hymns will be reproduced in full)

-  Readings, poems or prayers to be


-  Any additional text to be included

   (usually on back cover)

   eg: “The family thanks . .etc”

   “Donations in memory . . to . .”

   “The family invites to . . . . For

   refreshments following the