~ Dear Family of the Deceased ~
Allow us to extend to you our deepest sympathy on the loss of your loved one(s). Regardless of whether your loved one was young or old, their loss will have a significant impact on your life. We pray for God’s grace, a spirit of strength and peace to surround you at this time.
The following will share with you some useful information regarding the process of grief and with how we can assist you here at Bedford United Church. It also outlines some practical information regarding the funeral itself. Please take a moment to read it and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to raise them with the minister who is serving you at this time. May God bless and go with you during this time of loss and transition.
1. The Grief Process
It is well known that when someone dies their loved ones may experience a quite predictable and understandable flow of emotions, often referred to as the “Cycle of Grief.”
Denial: Upon first losing a loved one, people often experience a sense of unreality and shock. It feels like this death cannot be happening, cannot be real. This feeling is a protective mechanism of the body and mind to ward off the fullness of the pain of what you may be experiencing. It is most pronounced when the loss is sudden and unexpected. If you feel this way, give it time. Get the medical information you need. Talk and cry about your situation. Reach out to other people. This is not a time you should be alone. Be open to letting people care for you.
Anger: When the reality of the death has begun to sink in, some people may feel varying degrees of anger. They may feel anger at the person who has died, with themselves, or even with God. This anger may be expressed towards other people such as family members, people assisting with the funeral, or even simply a checkout clerk at the grocery store. The anger needs to be expressed. Do not be too hard on yourself if this happens. The best thing to do is to find someone with whom you can talk openly about your feelings. In that process your anger will start to release and soften.
Guilt: Often people will feel a sense of guilt. Generally, we exaggerate in our minds the ability we had to change the circumstances leading to our loved one’s death. Please understand that most people do the best they can with the time, energy and knowledge available to them. Be gentle with yourself. You are not a bad person and none of us is perfect. God still loves you and the person who has died will understand you through the eyes and the mind of God. Your minister can be a helpful resource with this feeling.
Sadness and Depression: For many people, the loss of a loved one leads to a deep sense of inner sadness and sorrow, as though the sun will never shine again in your life. Everyone who looses someone goes through this feeling. It will pass, but it may take time. If over the course of a number of weeks and months it does not seem to pass or to lighten, you may wish to see your doctor. Depression is characterized by a loss of sleep or too much sleep, by a loss of appetite or eating too much, by a loss of interest in life, by the inability to focus or concentrate. If you are experiencing these symptoms over a period of time, you may be experiencing minor depression. Your doctor may be able to help.
Acceptance: For most people, a time finally arrives when they are able to accept the loss of the loved one and are able to move on with life. This does not mean the pain or the memory of the loss ever goes entirely away. However, you can re-engage with life, happy moments occur, and you can enjoy the sun again. Congratulate yourself. You have made it!
The cycle of emotions just named does not happen in a linear fashion, one stage following another to a final end. Rather, you may go through all the emotions, back and forth, over a period of time until you finally reach a stable and long lasting sense of peace and acceptance. It is not uncommon for this process to take up to two years, and sometimes longer.
2. Grief Seminar
Bedford United Church offers an evening seminar on the grief process twice per year, once in December and once in the spring. You will be notified regarding the time and location closest to the loss of your loved one. It is a very helpful seminar and we would encourage you to attend when invited. If you wish, you may call the church office and register in advance for the course. In addition, ministerial staff would be pleased to meet with you to facilitate dealing with your loss. Please feel free to call or email us to arrange an appointment.
3. Funeral Arrangements
At the time of a death, our ministerial staff will be pleased to assist you in the following ways:
1. We will facilitate a gathering with you, your family and friends, several days before the memorial service, to celebrate your loved one’s life. This time is often one of deep healing, as family members and friends sit in a circle and share stories and memories, love and support for one another. We will facilitate this time of sharing, of tears and laughter, and will conclude the session with prayer and blessings.
2. We will discuss with you exactly what you would like to take place in the Service of Memory and Celebration. You may have special music, readings, and people you wish to be involved. We will attempt to make your service as personal and meaningful as possible.
3. We will prepare and make all arrangements for the service, including a eulogy if desired.
4. We will host and conduct the memorial service either at Bedford United or at a location of your choice. Please note, we do not conduct funeral services on Saturday afternoons, Saturday evenings or on Sundays.
5. Our United Church Women can host a reception following the service. The reception consists of sweets, coffee and tea.
6. Our ministerial staff will conduct a graveside committal service either on the day of the Service of Memory and Celebration or at some other time.
4. Funeral Fee Policy
If the deceased person, at the time of his or her death, was not a member of or financial contributor to Bedford United Church, the following fees shall apply. For members of Bedford United Church, the fees marked with an asterisk* do not apply.
|*Use of the church fee
|| $ 250.00
|Custodial fee on Weekends
|| $ 100.00
|Sound Technician (only if needed)
|| $ 100.00
|BUC Accompanist (without rehearsal)
|| $ 100.00
|BUC Accompanist (with rehearsal)
|| $ 150.00
|UCW for Receptions
|| $ 350.00
|| $ 300.00
Fees may be paid by cash or by cheque, made payable to Bedford United Church.
When a minister or an accompanist other than the resident minister or accompanist of Bedford United Church are used, fees for their services must be arranged and paid directly to them. All other fees will still apply as outlined in the policy above.
To contact the church regarding a funeral, please phone 835-8497 or email
It is the policy of Bedford United Church that no persons shall be refused services within this community due to financial inability to pay. If this is the case, please discuss your situation with the minister.
BUC Policy/ June 2004