Planning a Funeral

Planning the funeral is an act of love, it may be the last practical thing we can do for someone that we have been caring for. It is about saying ‘Goodbye’ as well as celebrating the life that they lived.

The ‘Goodbye’ we use now was originally ‘God be with you’ which sums up what a Church funeral is about. We trust the person that we have loved and cared about into the care of God. As Christians we believe in Resurrection, that life continues through death in a way that we cannot yet imagine.

Practically we can offer a Funeral for those who have lived in the parish or been a part of the Church and there is a range of possibilities for the service. It could take place in Church or at a Crematorium or Cemetery. A Funeral at either All Saints in Rettendon or St Nicholas in Rawreth may, in most cases, be followed by a burial. If there is to be a Cremation we may also be able to bury the ashes in the Garden of Remembrance at All Saints or St Nicholas.

Most people contacting a Funeral Director will be the first step in planning a funeral and we have worked with all the local funeral directors and a few from some distance away too. Be sure to say that you would like a Church Service; the Funeral Director may then contact us on your behalf to arrange a date. We will then arrange to meet you to discuss the service to make sure it is appropriate for your loved one.

You don’t have to wait for the Funeral Director to contact us though, you can get straight in touch with us and we would be happy to discuss arrangements with you directly.

Planning ahead

It may be that you want to talk to us before someone has died; it may be reassuring to those who are dying to know that arrangements are in place. We could also come and discuss the arrangements with you and/or them or pray with them. Whatever your needs please get in touch to discuss what may be best for you.

Graves and Headstones

At both All Saints, Rettendon and St Nicholas, Rawreth a Memorial may be place at the head of the grave and at All Saints (but not St Nicholas) a memorial may be placed over the plot where ashes have been buried. At St Nicholas we have a memorial book in church to commemorate those whose ashes have been buried in the Garden of Remembrance.

Applications for memorials can be received 6 months after the funeral. This practically allows time for ground to settle and emotionally to gain a perspective on what is most appropriate as a memorial to the person we are remembering. Looking at our churchyards some of the memorials are hundreds of years old, so they have to stand the test of time.

There are detailed regulations but a lot of them can be summed in two factors

The memorial should be about the person that has died rather than our feelings for them. In years to come people will want to know about the person who is buried rather than how we feel.

The other is that the memorial should be consistent with the Christian belief in eternal life and resurrection.

There is great value in talking to us about proposed inscriptions before contacting a stonemason, it can save a lot of time and frustration. The decision about whether a memorial is acceptable belongs to the Chancellor of Chelmsford Diocese but there are circumstances where the Chancellor delegates the decision to the local Parish Priest.

We also have restrictions about what can be left on the grave, and do not allow structures (fences or statues) to be put into place. There have been times when these have been relaxed and this has caused problems for safely maintaining the churchyard especially when the grass gets too long or when there are high winds. Please bear with us; these are practical restrictions for the safety of the volunteers who maintain our churchyards.

If you have any questions please get in touch.