Christians believe that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ give them hope and cause for thanksgiving in the face of death. In this faith we entrust those who have died to the infinite mercy and love of God. A Methodist funeral service acknowledges this hope and offers bereaved people the opportunity to remember their loved one’s life and offer them into God’s care.
How do we arrange a funeral?
Most people will use the services of a local funeral director, who will provide advice and organise all the practical arrangements. If you would like a funeral to involve the church and a local minister it is a good idea to find out if they are available before booking the time and date of the service.
The person who has died may have left details of the sort of funeral that they hoped for. Ministers will want to support families in keeping to such arrangements as much as possible and in making the service a personal and appropriate occasion. Taking funerals is an important part of the minister’s work and he or she will take time to visit families, offering comfort and support before and after the funeral itself. In some churches they may be able to offer the ongoing support of one of their pastoral team.
Burials and Cremations
Few Methodist churches have burial grounds and those that do are mostly full, so burials usually take place at the local cemetery. Just over half of funerals today are cremations and services may take place entirely at the crematorium or as well as a church service. If cremation is desired this leaves the question of what to do with the ashes. Crematoria have gardens of rest where they can be buried or scattered and many churchyards have a special place set aside for this even when there is no space left for graves.
The time between a person’s death and their funeral is often very busy and full of practical arrangements. Often it is only after the funeral that the full extent of loss affects the bereaved.
Grieving is a natural and important part of coming to terms with and healing this loss and it may continue for several months. There are people in most local churches who have experienced loss and they are often the best people to offer support in the months and years following a death. Ministers may be able to offer help or find others who can provide such friendship and support. There are patterns and themes to bereavement but each person is different and it is important for people to be supported in finding their own way through grief.