If you live in the parish of Pagham then you are entitled to have a Christian funeral either at St Thomas à Becket’s Church, or at the Crematorium or Cemetery but conducted by a minister from St Thomas à Becket’s. It is always our immense privilege to commend to God one of His beloved creatures and He loves all, so that for instance your attendance at church on Sundays has no effect on your entitlement to a church or Christian funeral.
This same entitlement extends to the time just before or immediately after death. You may contact Mark, the Vicar, at any time of day or night to ask him to come out and pray with you and your loved-one as they are dying, committing them into the hands of God. Equally, do please call him out to do the same just after they have died.
To book the funeral with this parish you would usually contact a funeral director and then they would contact us. In preparation for the funeral itself we would always meet to plan your loved-one’s funeral service. This enables the minister to hear something about your loved-one, particularly if they have not known them hitherto. We would also discuss Bible (or other) readings, music and hymns and anything else we need to.
One thing we do not do in this parish is have a private family committal first, followed by a public service afterwards. This in effect acts like having a ‘funeral without a body’. The Christian faith teaches that God has made us out of His love, souls and bodies; that our bodies have even carried Him in our lives; and that at the last, when Jesus comes again, we will all be raised from the dead, souls and bodies. And of course, we have only known each other in this life through the gift of our bodies, so we need to make that difficult farewell to the body of our loved-one. The funeral service is able to hold the whole range of emotions: of farewell, sadness and grief and also celebration, thanksgiving and hope.
These convictions are carried over in our Sunday-by-Sunday worship, when we always pray for those who have died and those who mourn, as well as at an annual memorial service.
Do contact Mark by telephone on 01243 262713 if you have any queries at any stage of life, preparing for death, or during bereavement.