The most important thing to keep in mind while planning a funeral is to be gentle with yourself and the other people involved. You are facing a difficult loss, and your emotions may be overwhelming right now.
Remember that Jesus said “those who mourn shall be comforted.” (Matthew chapter 5) God is very near in this whole process. God bless you and keep you.
A Christian Funeral in the Anglican Tradition
Compiled at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Edmonton, AB
For family and individuals planning a funeral.
With Reading and Hymn suggestions
Revised June 2018
Printable/savable document(PDF): Funeral Information Package – readings and hymns (St A’s)
A funeral can be a confusing and daunting thing to face and plan, especially if this is your first time or the nature of the death is particularly troubling. A death is confusing on its own, let alone the details and planning that seems to arise around the event. In terms of the ceremony, be comforted by the number of funeral services that have happened in churches over the years – there are some familiar patterns to follow. When the family and clergy have a chance to meet, final decisions can be made about the service and what happens around it. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed by all the options presented below, feel free to pass any decisions on to clergy, they are here to help.
Basic funeral planning may be done ahead of time – ideally with the person themselves. If the person is unknown to the church/clergy, it is preferable that the clergy have a chance to meet the person before death if possible. It is appropriate that prayers may be said at each point leading up to and beyond death.
- First – if possible, contact the clergy near or immediately after the death. They may pastorally serve and help the family in response to the death.
- Second – Contact your chosen funeral home. (Ask clergy if you do not know where to start.)
- Third – With the priest/church office, set a date and time for the funeral and, as soon as possible, a chance to meet and plan the service.
Thoughts about a Funeral
A Christian funeral holds three elements in balance:
1) Thanksgiving for the life of the deceased.
2) Acknowledgment of real pain of grief for those who remain.
3) Hope in Jesus Christ who rose from the dead and promises that all with him will be raised as well.
Each of these elements informs our decisions around death, what we allow or disallow to be part of the funeral service. Anglicans consider the funeral itself to be a communal act of worship – not worship of the deceased – but of the God who created them and is now receiving them into everlasting arms.
(Note if you are questioning having a funeral in a church: Do consider if the above elements are what you are expecting of the funeral. Christians consider each element to be vital in our human response to death, however, we know that not everyone shares this view. Please, do not feel the funeral has to occur through the church if this will not be appropriate for the person’s orientation in life and your expectations. Any questions about this may be directed to clergy.)
The most important thing to keep in mind while planning a funeral is to be gentle with yourself and the other people involved. You are facing a difficult loss, and your emotions may be overwhelming right now. Remember that Jesus said “those who mourn shall be comforted.” (Matthew chapter 5) God is very near in this whole process. God bless you and keep you.
Basic Options for the Funeral Service
Here are a few of the basic options (patterns) available for the service itself:
|Traditional (body present)
Memorial (ashes alone)
|-It is a poignant image for people to have the body present during a funeral and often helpful in acknowledging grief. Cremation may follow if desired for internment.
-However, cremation before the service is often desirable and necessary on account of timing or for other reasons. The interment may happen on the same day or on a later date.
|Book of Common Prayer (older language)
Book of Alternative services (modern language)
|-Both texts are used and valued
-The Book of Alternative Services (BAS) funeral text is appropriate in most situations and is the most common liturgy used in Canada.
-The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is often chosen for people who are very familiar with that style of worship.
|Eucharist [optional]||-Sharing in the Lord’s Supper of bread and wine is heartily recommended if it will be a point of unity among those who will attend and a familiar experience to most. However, it is not required and the funeral is complete without this event.
|Scripture selections (See below)||-the funeral service includes at least one reading from the Bible.
-Several appropriate options, and further notes are presented below.
|Congregational Hymns (Sung by all present. See below) [optional]||-There is no obligation to have any hymns. Due to time issues, it is not recommend that a funeral have more than four hymns (two to three is ideal).
-Hymns are usually played by our resident organist and may be led by an (optional) soloist selected by the church.
Ways to Include People in the Funeral Service (optional)
You may have people in mind who you would wish to be a part of the service. This is welcomed, but not required.
- a) Eulogy
-This is not required, but common.
-An individual is invited to share a few words of remembrance about the deceased.
-One eulogy will often suffice.
-More than two full eulogies significantly prolongs the service.
-If an “open mic” is desired (where anyone can say a few words), this is usually most appropriately done at a reception, not in the main service.
- b) Readings from scripture
-Depending on how many readings are chosen, an individual may read the selection out loud before the congregation.
- c) Prayers
-There is a time of prayer during the funeral service that may be led by a capable individual
-Speak to clergy regarding what this would involve. There are set prayers to be read.
- d) Musical offering by family member or other.
-Speak to clergy about how this may best be accommodated.
- e) Ushers
-to greet people at the door and to hand out leaflets. Two is enough.
Basic Service Outline
An Anglican funeral service follows this basic pattern of prayer:
1) Gathering, welcome, and remembrance
2) Hearing from Scripture and homily
4) Committal (into the hands of God…)
The hymns, the Eucharist, and any other desired elements are worked into this form as appropriate in consultation between the family and clergy.
Prior to the service the family is invited to gather in our lower lounge.
Post-Funeral Reception Information
It is common for families to request space for a reception following the service. We are sometimes able to provide the following arrangement (below). At other times, a full catering arrangement must be secured by the family.
St. A’s Ladies Group
- Provides paper plates, cups, cutlery, napkins, tablecloths, flowers, coffee, tea, cream, sugar, and punch (if requested).
- Tables will be set in a chosen color and coordinated in a respectful manner.
- The group will set up food in an attractive manner.
- The group will combine left over food for efficient service.
- The group will be responsible for kitchen clean up
Bereavement Family or Friends
- Set up and take down tables (The ladies group will meet the family or friends at their convenience to assist in organizing the room)
- Provide food – *Must be at the church at least 2 hours before the funeral
- Food trays can be ordered and purchased at:
- Safeway (Opens at 7am)
- Save-On (Opens at 8am)
- Food trays can be ordered and purchased at:
- Costco (opens at 10am)
- Arrange to be responsible for all the left over food
- Remove garbage to garbage bin (key required)
Cost of this service is $100
Notable Funeral Homes in Edmonton, AB
–Serenity is church supported and the only not-for-profit funeral home in Edmonton. Their South-side funeral home is at 5311-91 Street. 780-450-0101.
–Connelly-McKinley is a local family-owned funeral home of good repute. Their downtown location can be contacted at 780-422-2222. Foster-McGarvey is linked with them, 780-428-6666.
All things being equal, we invite the following donations for a funeral.
-$100-$300 for clergy (honorarium)
-$200-$450 for the church (Taxable donation)
Separate cheques or envelopes of cash are preferred.
Please understand that we consider funerals a ministry of the church, and we will never turn anyone away on financial grounds.
If the church organist is playing for the service remuneration of $150 is typical. Cash or cheque left at the organ before the service is preferred.
Reception (see above)
(*Reading selections follow on next page)
- One, two, or three readings may be used, only one is required.
- A Gospel* reading should usually be included (*this is a reading from the Biblical books, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John)
- If you have readings from the Bible other than those presented in mind, they are likely good, but do discuss these with clergy.
- If you get really stuck, the priest may help you choose or choose for you.
- Scripture is Scripture, it is all good, don’t be too concerned about getting it ‘perfect,’ just choose.
- Pray and ask God for help before you sit down to choose. Is there any reading that really jumps out? Reminds you of your loved one? Says something that you feel needs to be said? Was there a piece of scripture that was particularly important for the person?
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. 9 What gain have the workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11 He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Matthew 5: 1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
John 11: 17-27
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Romans 6: 3-9
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
Romans 8: 31-38
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 13: 1-13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 15: 50-58
What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:10
16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 1. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling– 3 if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord– 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.
1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Revelation 21: 1-7
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” 5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
(*Hymn selections follow on next page)
|· The Strife Is O’er, The Battle Won
· Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
· Fairest Lord Jesus
· Lift High The Cross
· When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
· Onward, Christian Soldiers
· The King Of Love
· Abide With Me
· Amazing Grace!
· God, Our Help In Ages Past
· A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
· Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
|· Take My Life and Let It Be
· What A Friend We Have In Jesus
· He Leadeth Me
· Be Thou My Vision
· The Lord’s My Shepherd (Psalm 23)
· Thine Be The Glory
· Immortal, Invisible, Go Only Wise
· How Great Thou Art
· Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven
· The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended
· The Old Rugged Cross