This is something none of us likes to do, but when these things have to be faced they come upon us so fast, that it helps to have some advice to hand. This article is posted for when it can be of
help in advising friends or family.
- Everybody living in the village is entitled to have their funeral conducted by their local Anglican priest or their deputy. The Church of England has as its special ethos the geographical concept
of the parish. It you live in the village you are automatically a parishioner. This is true regardless of what denominational allegiance you have, or none.
- The conducting of the Occasional Offices is a high priority in our Rector’s ministry. He will do his best to make himself available. However, you should talk to him at the earliest possible
moment rather than take availability for granted.
- For a person with proper village credentials as defined in law i.e. who lives here, or is on one of the Electoral Rolls, there is a legal entitlement to hold the service in the Parish
- Too many people feel 'we only want a quiet funeral’ and opt for a service at the Crematorium. Sometimes this is right but local people often value being able to pay their last respects, and this
is easier if the service is in the village. The Parish Church is comfortable and well heated and has always been a haven of peace. Indeed, the building itself can be a 'friend’ at such a time. Far
from troubling people, you will be using the provision that is especially there for you. Again, in a village, it is surprising how many people can want to be present. The old building seems to adapt,
and it doesn't matter if there are three mourners or two hundred, it always feels right.
- The journey from Aspley Guise to the nearest crematorium (Milton Keynes) is an exact 22 mile round trip. Many families, not just from this village but in the surrounding parishes, have evolved an
arrangement whereby, even when still having the body cremated, the whole of the service is held in the local church. The cremation can then happen either immediately before or after. In that funerals
are as much about the living as the departed, this can make a great deal of sense. People need to meet up, and tell their tales, and name their memories. If half the mourners have gone off, not
scheduled to return for an hour and a half, this can be very counter-productive.
- In such a case, sometimes the Rector will carry onto the Crematorium on your behalf.
- Other Crematoria are also available.
- Aspley Guise Cemetery is opposite the church. It accommodates the burial of bodies as well as ashes. If the service in church is followed by burial we walk from the church to the graveside.
- The Church hall, our Community Link Room, is generally available for hire, if numbers or other circumstances make a visit to the home less practical.
- Bereavement is an ongoing process and The Rector is available at the time and subsequently to provide help and counselling.
- We are very fortunate locally in that we have the services of some excellent companies of Funeral Directors. They are very skilled in helping you through the complications, end worries of
arrangements. It is through them that the church or Rector is normally booked.
- You may always ring the Rector first if you want to discuss timing. Some times of the week will never be available because of pre-advertised services etc. Even in your bereavement you will want
to be helpful to others. If a particular time is inconvenient, however, you will always be offered several other possible alternatives.
- Local or church costs will hopefully not be a consideration. These are, at most, only a small fraction of the whole. See below for the fees table. The various elements of the fees are set either
by Parliament or by a committee of village people. Similarly there are guidelines available on the churchyard regulations.
- Finally, invoke the Rector earlier rather than later. Even if you have met with him only once, this is better than not at all He is always willing to make a house call, give some quiet counsel,
pray at a bedside, hear a confession (formal or informal) or whatever feels appropriate.