A funeral is used to mark the end of a person’s life here on earth. Family and friends come together to express grief, give thanks for the life lived and commend the person into God’s keeping. These can be a small, quiet ceremony or a large occasion in a packed church.

Everyone is entitled to either a burial service or to have their ashes buried in their local parish churchyard by their local parish priest regardless of whether they attended church or not. The churchyard at St James, Altham has been full for many years and is “closed” for burials, other than for those in existing graves. We do however have a simple Garden of Remembrance where a person’s ashes may be interred.

A memorial plaque may be purchased from the church to be attached to one of the corner plinths marking the boundaries of the Garden of Remembrance. The plaques are identical apart from the wording.

Some people find planning the funeral with family and friends helps in their grieving. Perhaps you already know something of what your loved one wanted. You may even have planned the service together some time ago. If you are uncertain the vicar can help you choose suitable readings, hymns and prayers. If they did not know your loved one well, they will want to talk with you to build up a picture of the person’s life, this may take only one meeting but sometimes it can be more.

Times such as these are invariably difficult and upsetting for those involved. We want to help and support you along the way, not just in the time leading up to the funeral but in the days and months which follow. The parishes of St James, Altham and All Saints, Clayton-le-Moors hold a joint annual memorial service, usually held around the beginning of November, to remember those who have passed away and you may find it helpful to attend.

Some deaths will be especially traumatic, distressing or unexpected. The Church has special funerals for children , or after sudden or violent deaths, including suicide. Talk with the vicar about what is possible.

The church makes a charge for funerals and the amount is fixed annually by the Diocese of Blackburn.

For details of current charges please visit the Diocese of Blackburn website, then look up “Parochial Fees” in the Financial Information pages.