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The Leveson Centre for the study of Ageing, Spirituality and Social Policy

A Good Funeral

A Good Funeral

Dr Tony Walter, Richard Bragg,
Revd Mark Pryce, Dr Janet Eldred
Leveson Paper 14

This Leveson Paper brings together four addresses delivered at a Leveson seminar which explored the characteristics of a good funeral. The speakers brought different but complementary perspectives and discovered a considerable amount of common ground.

Dr Tony Walter brings a professional sociologist's perspective. He traces the way in which expectations of funerals have changed and the extent to which the official liturgies of the Church of England have changed in recognition of the new demands.

Richard Bragg offers a funeral director's view and gives an insight into what it means to arrange a funeral which is wholly family-focused, seeking to fulfil the wishes of the family whether or not the funeral director personally finds them palatable.

Revd Mark Pryce writes from the perspective of a vicar in a busy urban parish where there may be a hundred funerals a year. He describes how he wrestles with the demands of families for personalised funerals which are essentially backward looking and his own commitment to the traditions of a church which seeks to offer hope for life beyond the grave.

Dr Janet Eldred combines her experience as a cemetery administrator with that of an academic researcher to consider the merits of 'second funerals' - ceremonies outside the main funeral which may extend and complete the process of saying farewell to a loved one. Such funerals can be typically less formal, less structured and more personal to the needs of the mourners.

Taken together these four papers offer much food for thought for all those who are involved in arranging or conducting funerals.

A Good Funeral (Leveson Paper 14)
Dr Tony Walter, Richard Bragg, Revd Mark Pryce, Dr Janet Eldred

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