Funerals in the Woodford Valley
A simple reality is that all of us will die and will also have to face the reality of losing someone they love. The grief we feel following a death is a reflection of the love we have felt for that person, and not to have loved is not to have lived. During these times the parish hopes to be there for you.
The time before death
Mike, the Vicar, regularly comes and prays with people at the time of death, what is sometimes called ‘last rites’. He and the parish’s pastoral team is also available to come and meet with you before this to offer pastoral support to the person dying and to their family. It doesn’t matter whether you have regularly attended church or not, nor whether indeed you have a faith. We will be there for you, offering experienced human companionship as you approach the reality of death, and, if you wish, spiritual guidance and solace.
To access this contact Mike, the Vicar, or one of the team. We do not impose ourselves on people, knowing that some wish to be very private as they approach death. Therefore, if you do wish to meet with Mike or one of the team do contact them directly.
A Funeral Service in a Valley Church
A funeral service enables family and friends to remember, give thanks for, and say goodbye to the person who has died. At a human level it is a very important ritual and we would always recommend you hold a funeral service as one element of the grieving process.
We are willing to conduct the funeral service in church of anyone who has died, independent of where they lived, or where they were with faith. (There are however certain restrictions on who can be buried in the Valley’s churchyards - see below). The service itself will need to contain certain elements, including a bible reading and prayers, but can also include unique aspects such as recorded music and poems. We will work with you to develop the service you would like. It is possible to either have a friend or member of the family speak about the deceased or to ask the minister conducting the service to do this for you. The cost, set nationally, for a service in church is £217. We are also able to conduct services of parishioners at the crematorium.
After a Death and Arranging a Funeral
Following a death the person’s body may initially be put into the safe keeping of a duty funeral director. You are at liberty to work with them or any other funeral director as you arrange the funeral, or you can if you wish conduct all arrangements yourself (although this is rarely done). When arranging the timing of the funeral service there needs to be coordination between the family, funeral directors and us at the parish to find a mutually agreeable time. We will meet with you to talk through the service.
Who can be Buried in the Valley Churchyards?
Anyone who lives within our parish (which includes the estates of Kings and Archers Gate) has the legal right to be buried in one of our churchyards (either by full burial or interment of ashes). This is independent of church affiliation. The same right exists for those on our electoral roll and for those who die in our parish but live elsewhere. The church council’s policy allows for the burial of those who have lived for a significant time within the parish but now live elsewhere on a case-by-case basis and for the burial of anyone into the existing grave of a close relative of the deceased. It is the church council’s policy not to agree to the reservation of grave plots. The current nationally set fee for burial is £348 and for interment of ashes £182 (with some variations depending on circumstances).
Finding out More
If you would like to find out more about having either your, or a loved one’s, funeral in one of the Valley Churches do contact Mike, the Vicar. The central Church of England also has a web page here that gives other details about funerals in church.