Choosing hymns for a funeral can be quite tricky if you don't attend church regularly, and according to statistics from the Church of England, that includes most of us these days.
Only 1.1 million people in the UK attend a CofE church each week, while 69% of the UK population would say that they are Christians.
So, how do you choose hymns that say what you wish to express, yet can also be sung by the guests at the funeral regardless of age? Here's our top five funeral hymn tips:
- Ask your funeral director, clergyman or celebrant taking your service for advice. Every vicar, priest and celebrant has their favourites, as do church and crematorium organists, and their suggestions will be based on experience of being at more funerals than most.
- Ask family and friends what their favourite hymns are. This is both a chance for them to contribute to the funeral service in some small way, and a practical consideration for you the organiser. After all, if people know a hymn, they are more likely to sing it on the day.
- Take a look at our funeral music ideas page, based on years of experience and consultations with funerals directors, clergy and crematorium staff. We've chosen hymns with good tunes that people can sing with us, and also have thoughtful (and hopeful) lyrics.
- Put aside 30 minutes to listen to the hymns before you finally decide. Our funeral hymn resource website Songs for Funerals features over 50 hymns with their complete lyrics (hymn words) and a link to a soloist or a choir singing it on YouTube link, side by side.
- There is only one rule for hymns at funeral services as far as we are concerned: you don't need to sing ALL the verses! Often in a seven verse hymn, for example, at least two verses are omitted. This is particularly important for services at crematoriums, which may only have a 30 minute duration. By trimming verses, you can have the hymns you love, plus time for eulogies and tributes without rushing.
And if you want a singer to help lead the hymns, that's what we do; give us a call on 01252 511 762.