Funerals and Thanksgiving Services


If you are visiting this page because you’ve just lost a loved one, be assured of our prayers. St Mary’s church family is keen to help you in this time of bereavement.
We are most willing to assist you where we can.

A funeral in the church

A funeral at St Mary’s is a well prepared and attentive service of thanksgiving for the life of the deceased person. The service is led by the Rector, who is happy to include other readers in the service if desired.
An experienced organist accommodates the musical wishes of the family and our verger makes sure that everything is in place and ushers the family members to their reserved seats.
St Mary’s has a good sound system with loop system for people with a hearing aid and facilities exist for playing CDs chosen by the family in consultation with the Rector.

Memorial cross

At the church service a special memorial cross bearing the name of the loved one will bememorial cross dedicated and the family will be invited to collect this stylish cross a few months after the service. Until then this memorial cross will be displayed in the church for those who want to pray in private for the deceased and his/her family.
When we leave the church after the service the bell will be tolled by one of our bellringers in memory of the deceased and to invite the Wivenhoe community to remember your loved one.
Immediately after the funeral service, the burial may take place in Wivenhoe cemetery or elsewhere, or a cremation service at Colchester or Weeley crematorium may follow. The Rector will also lead the committal and prayers of farewell at the cemetery or crematorium. He doesn’t charge an extra fee for this service if the burial or cremation follows the service in the church.
Sometimes the family prefers to have the farewell in the cemetery or crematorium first, followed by a memorial service in the church on the same day. The Rector visits the family some time before the funeral in order to help with the preparation of the service. He is very willing to accommodate the wishes of the family re music, prayers, readings, tribute, eulogy etc.

A cremation service

If you have a service at the crematorium only, without a preceding church service, and you wish to have a cremation service according to the rites of the Church of England, and the deceased lived in the Parish of Wivenhoe, the funeral director will contact the Rector with a request to lead this service. It helps if the Rector could be approached about a possible date and time before final arrangements are made with the crematorium. Most funeral directors liaise with the Rector and the crematorium simultaneously.
At the crematorium the service only lasts 30 minutes as another cremation follows immediately. In this half hour we are allowed to have a piece of music at the entry and exit, and two hymns or other musical interludes during the service.
If you plan a long tribute (more than five minutes) we would recommend the church rather than the crematorium as time is restricted for a cremation service.
If you foresee a lot of people attending the service, you may consider the available seating: Colchester crematorium seats 100 people, Weeley crematorium 120, and St Mary’s church seats 200 people (and 250 if the choir stalls are used).
For both services at the church and the crematorium there is a set fee, usually paid through the funeral director. This fee will be shown on the funeral director’s invoice.

Written in the palm of God’s hand and in many hearts

The Rector will contact you for the preparation of the service and will assist you with your queries. At the Sunday service before and after the funeral the church congregation will pray for you when the name of the deceased will be included in our prayers of intercession. The monthly Parish Magazine “Tidings” mentions the deceased’s name in the publication following the funeral service. And finally, your loved one and you are in our thoughts and prayers. We are available for further spiritual assistance also after the funeral service.
Trust that your loved one now rests in peace and will rise in glory.
Revd Erwin Lammens, Rector of St Mary’s

At a Loss is a website where people can find support organisations, resources, helplines and Griefchat – a free, live webchat service – available to help them in their grief.
This short video shows bereaved people how to easily find support.