A Funeral at Leeds Minster
We are pleased to host the funeral of any person with connections to the Minster and of any person who lives within the Leeds City Parish. You can find out which parish you live in by entering your postcode on this website: www.achurchnearyou.com. If you live in another parish and do not have a connection with the Minster you should contact the church in that parish; they will be pleased to hear from you.
We understand that funerals are very important occasions and that at such a difficult time the number of things to be arranged can feel overwhelming.
This information attempts to explain some of what needs to be considered when a loved one dies.
What the funeral is for?
It may seem obvious, but a funeral has several functions:
It marks the death of someone we know and love and offers space to give thanks for their life. It is a time to acknowledge our grief and an opportunity to say farewell. It is a chance for friends and members of the community not only to pay their respects but to offer their concern and support to you. And a funeral is also an opportunity to offer that person back to God and to pray that they may be at peace.
If the funeral is to be at the Minster then the minister who conducts the service will do so as a Christian minister. The minister is there as the person who ‘speaks for the family’ on this occasion. That is why we always ask to spend time with the family when arranging the funeral.
The process of arranging the funeral
Every funeral is different, and the circumstances vary. In most cases, on learning of a death, the Minister will contact the family and will confirm the dates and times arranged with the Funeral Directors. This will be followed by a visit a few days before the funeral, at a pre-arranged time, to finalise details of the service such as hymns, readings and the order of service, and for the minister to listen to the life story of the person who has died. This will enable the minster to bring out important points at the funeral. It would also be helpful for the minister to be able to see a photograph of the deceased.
Thinking it through
Your feelings about what you want included in the service and how things should be done are very likely to change as the days go by. Please do not be distressed by this. The process of arranging a funeral is deliberately structured to enable flexibility and change. At any time before the service please feel completely free to contact the minister if you wish to change any of the arrangements.
The minister taking the service will discuss all the choices with you in detail. What follows is a brief list of some of the essential ingredients and some of the decisions that may need some thought. Many of these also apply if the service is to be held in the Crematorium.
Would you prefer the coffin to be in church when you arrive, to follow it into the church or to be seated before it is brought into church?
Do you expect children to come to the service? We welcome this but it is a help to the minister to know that children will be present.
Do you want to greet friends and family attending the funeral at the church door afterwards?
There will be someone from the minster to greet people, hand out service sheets and show people where to sit before the service.
How many seats do you need to reserve for close family members?
Some Funeral Directors provide attendance cards. These can be a helpful reminder of who attended the funeral.
Do you wish to have a collection for an organization, hospital or charity?
There are a number of possible Bible readings. The minister will be happy to discuss what is suitable. Similarly, you may wish to consider which hymns you would like to have.
Music may be played, either by the organist (who will have a repertoire of suitable music) or, in the crematorium, from a CD. If you want a particular piece of music played by the organist, please let us and the Funeral Director know in advance. Often music is played before the service, during the service during a time of quiet reflection and at the end of the service as the coffin leaves the church.
The service sheet. This does not need to be finalised in a hurry. Funeral Directors are very flexible, or there may be a family member or friend who would like to produce this. All hymns to be sung should be printed in full. It is best to avoid naming people who are going to read or speak in case there is a change of plan. The minister is always happy to read anything on your behalf. Please ask for sufficient copies of the service sheet to be printed. It can be embarrassing if there are too few.
Tributes and readings
Whilst the minister is very happy to lead all of the service, many families wish for a friend or family member to give a tribute or read a lesson. This is warmly welcomed. It is wise for tributes or eulogies to be around 5-10 minutes in length, and those giving them are advised to have a full script of what they wish to say with them. If, at the last moment, the person feels unable to deliver what they have prepared, the minister will be more than happy to read out the tribute.
The cost of the funeral service will be arranged with the funeral director and included in their charges. We are very happy to supply a copy of our current fees which are set in accordance with national guidelines issued by the Church of England; please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Making sense of death
Any death can be tragic – some overwhelmingly so. Society does not talk much about death so bereavement can be an isolating experience. You don’t work through grief, grief works through you, so please allow yourself time to grieve, and be gentle with yourself. We hope to be able to provide people who can listen to your questions and help you find your way through it. The minister who leads the service will keep in contact with you after the funeral service and will be more than happy to listen or talk with you about your experiences and feelings. There is also a national organisation with a base in Leeds who will offer support to you during your bereavement: Cruse Bereavement Care: 0113 234 4150 or www.cruse.org.uk
A Prayer from the Funeral Service
God of all consolation,
your Son Jesus Christ was moved to tears
at the grave of Lazarus his friend.
Look with compassion on these your children in their loss;
give to troubled hearts the light of hope
and strengthen in us all the gift of faith,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.