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Advice on finding Funeral Directors, Ministers and Organists for a Christian Funeral

Organ PipesSome people plan their funerals well in advance, thus relieving the bereaved relatives of a burden. But I am sure I am not alone in trying to arrange a Christian funeral for a relative who died unexpectedly, or who did not plan their funeral. If you find yourself faced with this situation how should you go about it?

It is entirely natural to want the best for your loved ones when they die, but it may feel entirely un-natural to start shopping around at a stressful time. ‘Discretion’ is a key word in the funeral business, and it can be hard to get a full and impartial perspective on the available choices in comparison with almost any other facility.

An experienced parish priest with a good reputation for pastoral work should be able to advise on the choice of a minister for the funeral service, on an organist and on a funeral director.

Some people elect to have a short and simple funeral service to bid farewell at the crematorium, then hold a longer church memorial service or have a secular function to pay tribute to the deceased’s life at a later date.

Most people learn of a respected funeral director by word of mouth, but you need to assess the likely impartiality of your source. Care is also required when searching the web, where information can be selective – search more than one directory. Some funeral directors are long-established family businesses and have much local knowledge; others are parts of national chains where the funeral directors are employees of the larger concern, some impressively diligent – but you need to assess the individual. The ownership of funeral directing firms is often not immediately obvious because customers tend to look to the names of established local funeral businesses, and these can be retained when they are taken over by larger concerns – look for their logos.

There are national bodies that represent Funeral Directors, for example NAFD and SAIF. NAFD publishes a Code of Practice, which can be read online, and offers a conciliation and arbitration service in the event of a dispute between client and funeral director. You may consider that individual qualifications and personal reputation are just as important as membership of these organisations. When assessing funeral directing firms you may wish to compare methods and time of payment.

If you are looking at this page, it is likely that you will be looking for an organist for a Christian funeral service. So to summarise, in order to gain the best chance of arranging a satisfactory Christian funeral for someone you love, at minimal stress to yourself, find a priest whose pastoral ministry is acknowledged, take care in selecting the funeral director; and request an organist whose playing is both reliable and inspirational.

Useful Links

Government advice on what to do when someone dies available online at: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Death/WhatToDoAfterADeath/DG_10029808

Where to Find Churches

You will find your local Anglican church in the Diocesan directory online, or ask your funeral director. Taunton is in the Bath & Wells Diocese, and details of the parishes and who to contact are here: http://www.bathandwells.org.uk/contact/directory/

or you can find churches by postcode here: http://www.achurchnearyou.com/