We have included some of the content provided by the Church of England website alongside our own advice for some guidance surrounding funerals.

A funeral is given to mark the end of a person’s life here on earth. Family and friends come together to express grief, give thanks for the life lived and commend the person into God’s keeping. This can be a small, quiet ceremony or a large occasion in a packed church.

Everyone is entitled to either a Christian burial service (funeral) or to have their ashes buried in their local parish churchyard by their local parish priest regardless of whether they attended church or not. We are here to support you through one of life’s most difficult times.

The message at all Christian funerals, wherever they happen, is one of hope. Although there is sadness because someone you know and love has died, in a Church of England funeral there will also be a message of hope in life after death.

“Christians believe that when we die God promises that we will be with him in a wonderful place where death and pain are gone forever. Whatever the circumstances of death these words of hope are a great comfort to those who attend a funeral.

We die, we can’t see the person we love anymore, but Christians believe that through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we will see that person again. It might be in very different form, in a very different way, but that is the Christian hope, and that is what everyone will get when they come to a Church of England funeral.”

If you have lost a loved one and would like to have a funeral at St. Thomas a Becket Church you will need to make your arrangements through a Funeral Director. We work alongside all the local Funeral Directors and will do our best to accommodate your needs. Your Funeral Director will discuss your particular requirements and arrange a date and time for the church service with us. Once that is in place, one of our retired priests, will be in contact with you to arrange to meet and plan the service.

Burial or cremation

When you talk to the Funeral Director to arrange the funeral, you will be asked to make a number of decisions. One of these will be whether you want a burial or a cremation.  We are able to help with either as we have room in our churchyard for burials and a dedicated place for interments of ashes.  We must inform you that the area in which we inter ashes has been prone to flooding over the past few years as it is close to the River Nidd.  As part of the Parish of Hampsthwaite & Killinghall, parishioners have the option of burial or interment at Felliscliffe Chapel of Ease.  Burials usually take place immediately after the service. Interments take place some time after the funeral service and can be arranged through your Funeral Director.

Planning the service

Funeral Flowers HampsPeople often find that planning the funeral with the priest and family/friends helps in their grieving. Perhaps you already know something of what your loved one wanted. You may even have planned the service together some time ago.  If you are uncertain we can help you to choose suitable music, readings, tributes, hymns and prayers. The priest will want to talk with you to build up a picture of the person’s life, this usually takes only one meeting but it can sometimes be more. 

Some deaths will be especially traumatic, distressing or unexpected. The Church has special funerals for children, or after sudden or violent deaths, including suicide. Please talk with the priest about what is possible.

If you are wanting an order of service to be produced this can be arranged through the funeral director and priest.

Read more

During the service, there are various points where it is appropriate to have music played, sung or listened to. It is traditional to enter and leave the Church to organ music, for which our Organist can help with suggestions.

It is usual to have two hymns during the service. It’s helpful to bear in mind the size of the expected congregation and try to choose hymns they will know and be able to sing.

The following are all well-known hymns which can help the congregation to feel comforted and comfortable:

All things bright and beautiful

Abide with me

Be thou my vision

Dear Lord and Father of mankind

Just as I am

Love divine, all loves excelling

Lord of all hopefulness

Make me a channel of your peace

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven

The Lord’s my shepherd

This list is not exhaustive, you may have your own preferences, which can be discussed.

Sometimes, it can help to have a short time for reflection during which either the Organist can play something appropriate, or a piece of recorded music that meant something to your loved one can be played – this can be discussed during the priest’s visit.

Read more


Weddings ReadingsIt is usual to have two readings, one of which must be a Bible reading. The other reading can be something that holds meaning for your loved one, but must be approved by the priest beforehand please.

Some suggested Bible readings:

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Galatians 5:13-14,22-25

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’

…The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

Matthew 25.34-40

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Ecclesiastes 3

3For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

9What gain have the workers from their toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. 14I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. 15That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.*

Ephesians 5.8-20

8For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light – 9for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them…121everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
‘Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.’

15Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. B1e filled with the Spirit, 19as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 14.1-6, 27

14‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe* in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?* 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.’* 5Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ 6Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.
He makes lie down in green pastures; and leads me beside still waters.
He shall refresh my soul; and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; I will fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me; in the presence of those who trouble me.
you have anointed my head with oil; and my cup shall be full.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Read more

Involving family and friends

It is good to involve family members and friends in the service if they feel able to. There may be people who you know would like to give a tribute or do a reading. Your priest will talk through this with you – it can be a wonderful way of paying tribute and helping the service to feel personal.

Monuments and memorials

If your loved one’s body or ashes are to be buried in a cemetery or churchyard, the family will have some decisions to make about the headstone or ledger stone which is made to mark the grave. There are several choices to consider, such as the size, style, material used and colour, and then of course the inscription. It is really important to know that there will be strict restrictions on all of these decisions in accordance with our Chancellor’s Directions. The best thing to do is talk to the stonemasons and listen to their advice about what is permitted. This will help you think through your ideas.