Religious Funerals

Outlining some religious funeral procedures

Types of Religious Funerals (Religious Funeral Procedures)

In the UK, the majority of funeral services will be between 30 minutes to a full hour. Presently a larger bulk of funerals are conducted within established religious practices with differences attributed to varying faiths and their respective denominations. Most funeral services have flexibility with regards to options that you might want to include or exclude, this will of course ultimately affect the final duration.

Christian Funerals

religious funeral proceduresOriginally the Jews practised burial for the deceased along with a series of rituals contributing to a service attended by relatives, friends and associates, presided over by one or more temple priests. The early converts from Judaism to Christianity carried over some of these practices which became entwined with new doctrines of the early church. Prior to the coming of Christ, the Greek and Roman societies had practised both cremation and burial, certainly elements and traditions from Greek antiquity are recognised as having permeated into early Christian beliefs. There was a period where cremation was rejected by the church, even though there is absolutely no scriptural (Old or New Testament) basis for preventing this form of funeral. The modern faith including the Catholic denomination accept cremation and proclaim that it does not contravene the hope of resurrection.

Church of England Funerals

If a person never attended church, the Anglican church will allow such a person to have a Christian burial service. It is a popular practice for some fees including, burial and graveside services not to be applied if the person who died was actively engaged within the community and or attended church within the local parish throughout their life.

When a Church of England burial takes place, there are fees payable to two distinct groups: these are the Diocesan Board of Finance and the Parochial Church Council.

The price list is updated annually and can be found at this web location – Church of England service prices

Here is a rough guide of what you could expect to pay (March 2017). The amounts are split varyingly  and awarded to the two groups according to the fee sheet (see link above).
  • Church (inside building either before or after burial) service – £182.00
  • Churchyard burial of the deceased body – £291.00
  • Burial of cremated remains in churchyard – £125.00
  • Graveside service if preferred – £377.00 (includes burial of the body fee)
  • Burial of body, ashes in cemetery (not churchyard) with service – £182.00
  • Issue of burial certificate – £13.00
  • Rights to install approved monument (e.g. headstone) – £130.00

The Church of England have produced a very straight forward guide ( religious funeral procedures ) to their traditional funeral service detailing the stages from entry of the coffin through to the committal and burial.

Catholic Funerals

Almost all members of the Catholic community are buried in a Catholic owned cemetery. There are limitations on what is permissible concerning the plot allocated to the deceased, usually this decision is down to the priest who will take into account the religious practices and the motivation underneath persons arranging the funeral. All cremation ashes have to either be buried in a grave or located within a consecrated repository sometimes referred to as columbarium. The Romans developed the idea of the columbarium, and the term columba means dove. The term columbarium is depictive of a dovecote ( a place with small compartments for doves).
The lease cost for a 75 year duration of a columbarium compartment is approximately £800, this usually includes the cost of the urn and a finished granite inscription.

The Catholic Church have produced a set of guidelines for funerals within the Church.

Here is a quick list by way of example (for greater details please see the Catholic Funeral Document):

  • Church Law – The funeral should normally take place in the church of that person’s proper parish. This is not steadfast and there are 2 exception clauses open.
  • Vigil Service – Church commends the deceased to God and offers hope to the mourners (family and friends), this usually takes place between death and burial.
  • Funeral Mass – A reflection of faith on Christ’s death and resurrection, usually celebrated in Church and on the day of the burial.
  • Eulogy – A brief eulogy can take place prior to beginning of the funeral mass, at the conclusion of the vigil service or following the prayers of committal at the cemetery before the final commendation.
  • Funeral Liturgy (outside mass) – The body of the deceased should be present and the liturgy can take place in a parish church, at the home of the departed, at a funeral home or even a cemetery chapel.
  • Place of Burial – Priests are permitted to bless the space of burial should the deceased not be buried in the traditional Catholic cemetery.
  • Rites of Committal  – The final farewell, the Christian community honours its member before he/she is entombed or buried.

Methodist Funerals

Very few Methodist churches have funeral grounds and subsequently they perform burials at local cemeteries. Ceremonies are also performed at crematoria, over 50% of funerals performed by Methodists are for cremations. Many churchyards have regions set aside for burying or scattering ashes even if their coffin burial plots are full. Crematoria have gardens of rest where ashes can also be either buried or scattered.

Baptist Funerals

Traditions relating to funerals in different baptist churches can be personalised; there is a strong emphasis on the involvement of the congregation. It is not uncommon to witness celebratory activities including singing, dancing, the performing of live music and projected prayers. Not very many baptist churches own burial grounds, subsequently many deceased are buried in parish cemeteries.

Muslim Funerals

The muslim community work hard to bury a deceased member in a very short period of time, it is not uncommon for the departed to be buried within the first 24 hours following their death. Many of the physical activities in preparing the body are very much the same as those carried out by traditional funeral directors. These activities are carried out by either by selected relatives or performed by specific community members to respect the intimacy of the body.

Many muslims are usually encouraged to attend the funeral even if they did not personally know the person who died. The attendance of non acquaintance members of the community support the profound personal, social and spiritual significance of the event.

There are some particular guidelines with regards to conduct and etiquette when attending a funeral. Non-muslims usually are very welcome to pay their respects but kindly asked to adhere to the requirements when visiting the Mosque and also procedural order for the procession and at the graveside.


The MBCOL website has some very helpful articles regarding the attendance of muslim funerals.

Free Funeral Plan

If you would like to make use of our free funeral plan i.e. the funeral wishes form, please click on the button. As a result this will download a pdf copy to complete and print for your own records.