Bereavement and Funerals

Spiritual care of people who are sick, dying or bereaved following the loss of a loved one is an important part of our ministry at St Peter’s. Our Ministry team is always willing to meet with people at difficult times, to talk and pray with them. Wherever possible, we would wish to be involved with the funerals of Christian people with a connection to our parish irrespective of whether they attend St Peter's regularly.

If you would like someone to visit or pray with you please speak to one of the Ministry Team or contact the Parish Office. If you want to organise a funeral or burial of ashes, it is generally easiest to make contact through a funeral director, who will co-ordinate diaries and make the necessary practical arrangements.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you hold healing services at St Peter's? – 

Yes, we generally hold a simple healing service every three months at 5:00pm on the first Sunday of the month, at which people are welcome (but not required) to receive laying on of hands and prayer for healing. If a sick person cannot get to church we will visit for prayer and laying on of hands. For the date of our next healing service, contact the Parish Office.

Can I receive communion at home or in hospital? –

If you are unable to get to church for Holy Communion, please contact one of the Ministry Team, and we will make the necessary arrangements.

How can I make peace with God before I die? –

Even after a good life well lived, many people feel there are ‘loose ends’ - unwanted baggage of past failures and regrets which they would like to unload before they meet their Maker. Our clergy consider it a great privilege to spend time with people at the end of their lives. A visit may simply involve the priest listening to the dying person’s story and praying with them for whatever is on their mind. Alternatively, if this is what the dying person wants, it may take a more formal shape, possibly including confession and absolution, anointing with oil, and Holy Communion. Whenever possible and appropriate, we would hope close family and friends would be involved in the prayers.

Can bodies still be buried in St Peter's churchyard? -

Unfortunately the churchyard is full, and therefore closed to further burials. Most local burials now take place in Burvale Municipal Cemetery. Our churchyard can, however, still accept burials of cremated ashes, either in the Garden of Remembrance or in an existing family grave.

May I put a memorial in St Peter's churchyard? –

Because our churchyard is closed, and because the church is located in a conservation area, there are very tight constraints on the installation of any new memorials. There is, however, a Book of Remembrance maintained in the Lady Chapel in which we record the names of all those whose ashes are buried in our churchyard.

Is it better to hold a funeral at St Peter's or at the Crematorium? -

It depends on your needs and those of the people who will be attending. Sometimes, holding a service at the parish church will make it easier for local people to attend. Also, there is no time restriction for a service held at St Peter’s, whereas a Crematorium will only allow a total of 30-45 minutes. Regardless of the venue, we will work with you to make the service as personal as possible.

What support do you provide for the bereaved? –

Adjusting to the death of someone you have loved is always a lengthy process, and one in which people need lots of support. Family and friends can be enormously helpful at these times, but sometimes an independent listening ear can be called for. We have a small Bereavement Visiting Team which supports the clergy in this work.

 

Children, Young People and Families

We have used the resources of Winston's Wish in the past and have sent children on their residential weekends with good results.

Winston's Wish is a specialist charity based in Cheltenham that helps children and young people prepare for bereavement and helps them and their families rebuild their lives after bereavement. It offers a range of resources, including:

  • Suggestions about books for different age groups.
  • Activity sheets and memory boxes.
  • Counselling weekends.
  • Fun activities and outings for children and families.