Independent Minister and Celebrant
writing an order of service

Increasingly families are wanting to produce an order of service to give out at the funeral.

Most funeral directors are able to provide these – either by using a local printing firm, or even in-house. They will advise on possible formats – an A5 four-page booklet is the most popular.

Usually the front cover will contain the person's name, together with such wording as "A service of thanksgiving for the life of….", "A celebration of the life of…" or "In loving memory of…" You may wish to include a photograph. This can be either a traditional portrait, or maybe a shot of him or her taking part in their favourite hobby – football, abseiling, DIY, etc. You might wish to include more than one photo – perhaps a more recent one on the front, and one or more taken at different stages in their life on the back cover. On the front you may also wish to include date of birth and date of death, plus the date and location of the service.

Inside we normally place the "running order" for the service. This can vary considerably, but a typical order for a cremation service might be as shown in the following:

Example Order of Service

* The "committal" is traditionally the point in the service at which we formally entrust our loved one into God's tender keeping. This is where, in the prayer book service, we hear about "ashes to ashes, dust to dust", and "in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life." These words will not be appropriate for everyone, and I shall include a section on alternative words of committal.

Of course this can be adapted in many different ways. For example, it may be that no religious content is desired in the service – so there will obviously be no prayers or blessings. You may wish to include the words of a poem or other quotation on the service card.