Death – our own, or that of someone close to us – is one of the certainties of life.
To love someone is to risk the pain of parting.
Not to love is never to have lived.
The grief we experience is the honouring of our love.
In the cycle of life and death the earth is replenished and life is eternally renewed.
At the time of a death, the St Luke's minister is available to be with the family and friends to guide them through those things we all need to do in the face of death – grieve, reminisce, acknowledge the range of feelings being experienced, and to plan a suitable funeral service. This may be held in the church, or at the crematorium, or a funeral director's chapel.
At St Luke's we believe that all human life is valuable, and the truth, integrity and hopefulness which resides in each life lives on. We seek to be realistic and sensitive about death. It is a time for giving thanks for those things that were good, for putting to rest relationships which may have become strained, for acknowledging our human frailty and vulnerability, for recognising that death inevitably awaits us all, and to affirm hope and trust in the loving connections which some of us call 'God'.
Funeral services conducted by the St Luke's minister may take a variety of forms, and the minister is keen to work with family members in creating the most appropriate service for the circumstances. St Luke's encourage family and friends to take as full a part as possible in the service, and to be imaginative in how the service is created. For people who are not particularly “religious”, the funeral service need not be particularly “religious” either. Sometimes people want a service that does not use the word 'God', and our minister can help with that. Sometimes people want the service to be in St Luke's but led by a funeral celebrant or another minister. All are welcome here.
At St Luke's we encourage people before they die (even before they are facing any approaching possibility of death) to make their wishes known about the form that their own funeral service would take when it comes to their death. Choices cover such matters as where they would like the service held and who they would like to lead it, their choice of hymns, readings, speaker(s), who else to be involved in the service, whether they wish to be buried or cremated and so on.
At St Luke's we make a form available for people to complete which will when the time comes both provide the information a funeral director needs at the time of death, and also guide those who are arranging the funeral service as to wishes for the content of the service. This form is freely available – just contact the administrator. The form can be kept with the person's will, a copy given to the administrator to file away, or left somewhere where next of kin know where to find it.
If there is some way in which St Luke's can offer assistance to you concerning death – whether it is a long way off, imminent, just happened, or from the past – please do not hesitate to contact us. We can also recommend qualified grief counsellors and other support groups.
O God, as we come face to face with death
and our own mortality,
we have many feelings as well as grief,
and possibly fear for the future.
Please come close to us with your love,
travel with us into these serious moments,
and open our hearts to each other.
We ask it in the name of Jesus Christ
who faced his own death and the death of a friend.
Acknowledgement: words in italics from
“A simple Funeral” by Dorothy McRae-McMahon