Chapter 17 » 17.15


Responsibilities of area meetings

Several area meetings have produced guidance notes or memoranda of good practice, giving practical advice based on the specific circumstances of each area. This is a convenient way of pooling the local experience of Friends in their conduct of funerals and memorial meetings and keeping it readily available in written form. Area meetings are recommended to produce such memoranda for members’ use and to keep them up to date. There follows a list of those matters which area meetings have found most useful to include:

  1. ways in which appointed office holders may become aware of local custom and practice;
  2. consultations with the family, bearing in mind the wishes of the deceased;
  3. liaison with crematorium staff and funeral directors; particular care should be taken to clarify points where Quaker expectations may differ from what is assumed to be normal practice;
  4. the need for firm and sensitive direction during the funeral; those present, particularly distressed mourners, will welcome clear guidance on how to proceed;
  5. consideration of the length of the meeting for worship;
  6. the presence of those not accustomed to our form of worship and the need to include them, allay their anxieties and preserve the integrity of the meeting;
  7. the opening and closing of the meeting for worship;
  8. the use of prepared ministry;
  9. burials: the conduct and form of any meeting by the graveside;
  10. policy regarding the minister’s fee normally charged by funeral directors in the account rendered to the estate, bearing in mind that it is not Friends’ practice to accept a fee for ministry;
  11. an indication that Friends should consult this chapter in conjunction with the memorandum produced by their area meeting.
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