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Planning A Funeral Service

Updated on March 27, 2015

Help Your Family By Choosing Material for Your Funeral

When a death occurs so much has to be done to tie up legal matters that it can be a huge help to find the loved one has left suggested material for their funeral service. This is something we can all do to help those left behind. We should leave clear instructions, as to what sort of a service we want. There are some people who want no service at all, but most of us want a service where our loved ones have a time of closure, to help them to continue their lives, knowing they have given the loved one a "good send-off." Here I will make all kinds of material available to you with my personal loves and hates.

Also Useful for Planning Any Funeral

Although this page is mainly about planning your own funeral service, it can be just as useful in finding material, in a hurry, when you have lost someone near to you. Whichever it is it is about saying "goodbye" either to a loved one we have lost or to those we are leaving behind.

What Sort of Service Will You Have?

Many people will want a christian service and that is where my expertise lies, but just to mention there are various sects who like to do their own thing and there are atheists who of course, want something different. There are many pieces of poetry which will bridge the gap between these. As you explore this page you will be able to choose what suits your belief and frame of mind. As I say I will be working mostly from a christian perspective.

Will the funeral be followed by burial or cremation? This is the choice best made by you so that your family are not left in a quandary about your wishes. You need to write out your wishes and keep tham in a safe place preferably with your will. This is better kept in writing as it can be difficult to get into a deceased person's computer. However you could e mail your wishes to a family member to keep safe on their PC.

How I Came To Take My First Funeral Service

I knew a lady at a village club we both attended. After a while she had cancer and later it became terminal. She had been missing from the club for some time. Repeatedly I felt I should visit her. Then one morning I had felt I really should act upon this, so I sent her a card saying that I was thinking and praying for her and would like to visit her. She rang immediately and arranged a time. She was so easy to talk to. She knew I had recently been accredited as a Local Preacher. To my surprise she asked if I would take her funeral service. I thought about it for a while and then agreed. She had chosen several items, such as hymns and readings. After she died I met with the family and worked out a eulogy telling of important events in her life. She had been a high powered Personal Assistant. She had led an interesting life.

Everyone was so appreciative about the way I took the service. Several people even said they would like me to take theirs! I do my best to state the Christian gospel by means of the Bible readings. Hope in christ is the central theme.

The undertaker was obviously impressed with what I did as he has since asked me to take two other funerals and an interment of ashes. Because I do it infrequently I can bring a feeling of specialness to each occasion, whereas a minister of religion who is doing it frequently often just goes through the motions.

I find it such a privilege to be with a family at this difficult time for them and I work to give them a meaningful farewell to their loved one.

Your Choice of Hymns

There are many lovely hymns suitable for a funeral. I will mention some here and then give you links below to the lyrics and tunes. Also I have found some on Youtube for you to listen to. Some favourites are:- The Lord's My Shepherd. Abide with me and In Heavenly Love Abiding. I like Begone Unbelief. The Lord's My Shepherd is an ancient piece being based on a Psalm of David, written in Old Testament times. It has stood the test of time and still expresses our feelings in the twenty-first century.

Of Course your choice of hymns and readings can reflect your beliefs or be directed at comforting your friends and relatives.

One of My Favourites

A Suitable Poem

If someone has a strong christian faith they might like to use this for a funeral poem. Please feel free to use any of my material for a funeral. Acknowledgment would be nice, but I would just be pleased to have helped someone.This poem is found on my Poems of Loss page. The link will take you straight to it. Here is the link.My Parting Words. Here is another funeral poem. Verse for a Funeral.

Helpful Poetry

These poems may be suitable for all shades of belief. Some of them are steeped in denial of the reality of death. The christian message is that death is real and in fact the last enemy, but in Jesus is conquered. I include these poems because some people find them helpful.The links are below.

"Do not stand by my grave and weep" may help some but it is based in the denial of the reality of death and therefore might hinder the grieving process for the mourner who is experiencing the reality of death and separation.

Again "Death is nothing at all" is a denial of the separation we know. It is, however helpful to think of our loved one in another dimension and still close to us. I recently used this at a funeral because it was requested by the deceased and was surprised to discover now that the last couple of lines had been left out. The lines that speak of reunion.

"He is gone"/"She is gone" is really an exhortation to get on with life, to let all that the deceased meant to one be a spur to carry on living. To have a positive reaction to our loss.

"Let me go" by Christina Rossetti is a beautiful poem, again it addresses the need for the mourners to move on in life. The funeral is an important time when the relatives need to let go and say "goodbye."

"Remember" is another poignant poem by Christina Rossetti in similar vein to the one above.

I leave you to discover the other poems here and choose one to suit you.

Why Prepare for Your Funeral

Contemplating one's own demise can be quite a scary thing, but preparing for your funeral can be such a help for your family and loved ones. When you die they are caught in such a whirlwind of emotions that it makes the preparation of the funeral something which may be rushed and perhaps they may be regretful after, that it had not been put together as they would have wished. If your wishes are to hand their job will be so much easier.

If you are terminally ill preparation for your funeral can help you accept what is coming, but for many death comes suddenly. Is it not strange that we know that death can come at any time and yet we live as if it never will?

Various Ways of Disposing of a Body

Are you going to have cremation or burial? Although burial takes up land it is more natural than cremation. Many christians prefer burial because the body is laid to rest in the earth, waiting for the coming of Jesus. Christians believe the body is just an empty shell after death, and therefore it is not important how it is disposed of. We all have to make up our own minds about this. Personally I would like my body to be buried.

There are Many Helpful Bible Readings

Find them in this section

A link to These Wise Words

The Book of Ecclesiastes Chapter Three

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

At the Crematorium Time Is of the Essence

Our local crematorium allows thirty minutes only for each service, including walking in and walking out. Because of this what you want to happen in the service needs to be strictly timed. This is really the job of your minister who will be conducting the service. Of course you may have a church service followed by the time at the crematorium. In this case you will probably have more time in which to have your material used at the church, followed by a brief time at the crematorium.

Whatever happens you do not want a sense of being hurried for your relatives. It is better to have fewer items which can be recited in a slow and peaceful way.

The Order of Service

How Will You Set About Choosing Items?

For a balanced order of service you will want to mix hymns with the spoken word. Your family will have to discuss this with the minister as he will have to keep in mind time restrictions. A typical oder of service would look like this:-

Incidental music for going in

Opening scripture and welcome











Incidental music for going out.

The Eulogy

Obviously you cannot write this yourself, but you can note down what you feel are important milestones in your life to give a framework from which your family can work. Where you went to school, your work situations and important relationships. Here again your family will be greatly helped by your framework.

The minister will be used to making this into a finished eulogy. This is a time for the family to realise there are good memories which will always stay with them. Really the funeral is all about your family and friends and helping them to come to terms with the fact that you are no longer with them except in memory.

The eulogy is best presented by the minister as family will probably be too emotional to cope. Also the minister has to keep an eye on the time, so can tailor the eulogy to fit requirements. It is always better for the family to sit back and be ministered to.

What Do You Think of Preparing Your Own Funeral Service?

Would you choose items for your funeral service?

Will You Prepare for Your Funeral or Leave It to Those Left Behind?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have already discussed this with my husband and children. Toss my carcass in the oven because I'm not here anymore. Ya Hoo!

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for this helpful resource. No one likes to think about such things. But preparing as much of the details as possible would sure make things easier for those left behind.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice work Liz, and a most helpful resource. I have bookmarked it.

    • LizMac60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Mackay 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @athomemomblog: Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 

      6 years ago from Guatemala

      Good lens. I've told my husband what my preferences are. I want to be buried in Guatemala, not Canada, where I was born. On my tombstone, I'd like "Oh God of dust and rainbows, please help us to see, without the dust, no rainbows there would be." which I saw many years ago and loved.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      After going through an unplanned one, you realize the importance of planning them.


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