What is a Funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony for honouring and respecting the life of a person who has died, and usually involves arrangements for the burial or cremation of their body.

Customs vary widely both between cultures and between religious groups and denominations within cultures. Common secular motivations for funerals include mourning the deceased, celebrating their life, and offering support and sympathy to the bereaved. Additionally, funerals often have religious aspects which are intended to help the soul of the deceased reach the afterlife, resurrection or reincarnation.

Funeral services have changed over the years and although traditional services are still popular we see more and more people choosing to personalise funeral services. Here at Chelmsford Star Co-operative Funeral Services we believe families should have the choices in order to give their loved one the send off they would have wanted or which would best represent them.

This is why when the funeral is arranged the Family Liaison Officer will help to explain all you need to know about the arrangements and the choices you have, including the types of funeral available.

Religious Funerals

There are many religions practiced in the UK, and we will make the arrangements on your behalf to find the most appropriate faith leader and arrange the funeral with them. If you have specific needs or a variation on your faith that you would like observed then just let us know.

If you are having hymns or religious readings, you can ask to see the actual text that will be spoken as there may be different translations/versions. Many hymns can be sung to different tunes, so once again simply advise your preferences. Many ministers will agree to incorporate a personal element into a funeral, such as recorded music or a non-religious reading.

We can work with any religion or background.

Non-religious Funerals

If the deceased has no religion then a ceremony can take place to celebrate their life instead.

A Humanist funeral service is a personal alternative to a religious faith based funeral ceremony. They do not recognise a god but bring people together to express sadness at the loss but also to celebrate the life they lived. They focus sincerely and affectionately on the person who has died, paying tribute to the connections they made and left behind and the way they lived their life.

These are led by Celebrants who are public speakers and are trained and experienced in devising and conducting suitable ceremonies. Celebrants can still include in the service elements of religion, prayer or hymns. They meet with families and friends before hand and learn about the departed. They will then write a unique ceremony which they will administer in a calm and dignified manner on your behalf. This can incorporate poems, reading and any other memento that is required. Afterwards they will give you a copy of the service.

Memorial Service

When a funeral ceremony is performed but the body of the deceased is not available, it is usually called a memorial service. This can be done as well as and at a separate time and date to the actual funeral itself.

Depending on your religious beliefs, the funeral ceremony can take many different formats. There are no legal requirements for the form a funeral or memorial ceremony must take, and so once the death certificate and registration have taken place, it's up to you to decide how to mark the committal and where. Most people in the UK still use a religious minister to conduct the funeral at the crematorium or burial ground, but increasingly celebrants, or even family members are preferred to lead a more personal and fitting farewell.