Funeral Policy

Funeral Policy                                                       January 2018

We will always be here to help you through one of life’s most difficult times. A Church of England funeral is available to everyone, giving support before, during and after the service, for as long as it is needed.

This policy is provided to assist families in planning and providing a Christian funeral. It is in keeping with legislation and it is hoped that by making people aware of the policy this will prevent unfortunate mistakes being made.

By having a funeral service at the church, all who attend will be reminded of the Christian hope and the assurance in Jesus Christ.

A funeral service at church will typically last around 30-40 minutes but unlike at crematoria there are no time restrictions.

There can be alternative methods for the conducting of funeral services. Commonly this might include:

1. A service at the crematorium

Typically, this will be a short 20-30 minutes service.

The seating capacity in crematoria may be limited, so restriction to invited family and close friends may be preferred.

2. Memorial Service in the church following the cremation.

A Memorial Service is attended by the same people who attended the crematorium, but also by the wider circle of family, friends and anyone else who might wish to attend.

Emphasis here is often on thanksgiving and celebration for the deceased’s life and their achievements within their family and community, rather than on disposal of earthly remains.

3. Burials 

There are still spaces for burials in some of our churchyards. These include, The Wayside Cemetery (belonging to but about half a mile away from St Mary's, Greenhow), St Mary the Virgin, Ramsgill and St Chad's, Middlesmoor. We reserve the right to only bury people in these churchyards that live in the parish or have a strong connection with it.

The funeral officiant will be happy to meet with the family to plan any funeral worship arrangements.   


The Date and Time of a Funeral

Dates and times for funerals are usually arranged in consultation with the Funeral Director and the Vicar based on the availability and the preferences of the deceased’s family.


Who Will Officiate?

Within the United Parish of Upper Nidderdale it will usually be the Vicar, Lay Reader or a Retired Clergy (with the Bishop’s permission to officiate).


Occasionally we are asked if a Clergy or Lay Reader from elsewhere can take the service? Any requests for another clergy or lay person to officiate at the service must be approved by the Vicar (and possibly the Bishop) as there are diocesan policies to be adhered to.  However, if the next of kin would like someone to assist the Vicar (or other authorised officiant) this can normally be easily arranged.  


Structure of the Funeral Service

A funeral service held in the church is a service of worship, celebrating the deceased’s life and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ. 

Generally, the outline for the funeral and burial service will take on a traditional Church of England format. There is no specified number of hymns, but usually there are two or three

A common format is: 

Opening Prayer


Tribute / Eulogy




Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer


Committal (The Committal may take place at the Graveside)




The family may suggest other items to be included in the service, in consultation with the Vicar (or other authorised officiant).   


Funeral Music 

Some people choose to have recorded music in the service. Whilst the majority of the time this will be fine, the choices must be approved first. Our churches do not have sound systems so the use of recorded music relies on the Funeral Director being able to supply one.

The use of hymns is encouraged and favourites may be selected by the family in consultation with the Vicar (or other authorised officiant) during the planning of the service. Additional musicians or soloists may be utilized. 



We welcome families to display certain mementos or photographs of the deceased and their family during the funeral service, but respectfully insist that no nails, tacks, staples or screws shall be put in the walls or attached to the pews.


Memorial Stones

Memorial Stones that mark the resting place of the deceased in one of our churchyards must comply with the Diocesan Churchyard Regulations and must be approved by the Vicar first. Failure to do this may result in the Memorial Stone being removed at the cost of the Next of Kin, so please help us to avoid this.

A stone is not usually installed until 6 months after a burial, to allow the ground to settle; so there is time for discussion of what is allowed before ordering, and use of a local Memorial Mason will ensure that the current regulations are followed when picking an appropriate gravestone for your loved one. Memorial masons will always send the Vicar a sketch of what is being requested with dimensions and type of stone being used.

Equally, if you are replacing an existing Memorial Stone or Garden of Peace Tablet, the new one must be approved by the Vicar before installation.


Interment of Cremated Remains

In some of our churchyards there is provision for the burial of cremated remains. Please note that the scattering of cremated remains in churchyards is not permitted by law, they must be interred.

Stone memorial tablets marking the resting place of interred cremated remains are not permitted under local regulations. However, there is usually a way of permanently recording the person's name in a Book of Remembrance or on a picture in the church.



There will usually be a collection plate for financial donations as people are leaving the church. Commonly, families will want to support charitable organisations from this collection. The parish is pleased to share the collection between the church and charity (unless an exceptional request from the family is agreed beforehand). This will usually be 50% Church and 50% Charity but where there is more than one charity the split will be made equally between the charities. For example there will be a 33.3% split if there are 2 charities and church, etc.