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FuneralsWhen someone dies, family and friends feel an acute sense of loss. Whatever one's beliefs about death and life after death there is an inevitable sadness about the ending of the life on earth. Funerals are an important part of the grieving process. They help us to let go of the physical relationship we had with person departed but also allow us to remember the gift that he or she was to the important people in his or her life.

Funerals are also the chance for healing to begin. People can be comforted by each other through the shared love they had for the deceased. And the funeral offers an opportunity to remember that even though the body dies these moments of shared love are eternal and can never fade.

The Interfaith Minister will work with the family to construct a service which is meaningful, sensitive to the beliefs of all, and which will provide comfort and healing at a time of great sadness.

Often the service will consist of prayers. readings, singing together, candle lighting, music, spoken recollections and silent reflection.



My friend Sonja died last year. A few months before she died, she planned for her funeral. She choose an Inter Faith Service/Ceremony and her friend The Rev. Geraldine Bown performed this Service.

Looking back now this Service had three parts, Letting go, Mourning the Loss and Celebrating the Life of Sonja.

The first part of the service Letting Go began at the Hospice during Sonja leaving, where Geraldine was present and supporting with Sonja and her children in a final letting go. This was prayerful, peaceful, dignified and very gentle.Taking fully, each individual need into loving response.

The second part - Mourning the Loss was the Cremation Service. Geraldine accompanied and prepared with the children and family before this while they each identified what their needs and wishes were. Geraldine then, with great care, created a Service unique to their needs and their grief.

A few days later, came the third part of the service when Sonja's ashes were brought home and back into the community. This ceremony was the Celebration of Sonja's Life. Family, friends and all the community were included in this celebration which was held in the parish church. This service was structured around Scripture Readings, Prayer Readings, Music and Song and Spoken Reflections from Sonja's children, family, friends and community. This was sometimes sad but mostly joyful.

It was indeed a Service above and beyond the call of duty and a powerful experience for all involved.

Mary Clancy-Rice

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