Music for Funerals

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What is required?

The music at a funeral service is usually provided by the organist, unless a family member or friend is a competent musician and wishes to play as the congregation arrives or leaves. It is also possible to have a particular favourite played from a CD, but in both cases, the choice of music must be agreed with the Minister.  It is important to remember that a funeral is a church service and a religious occasion.

Otherwise, the organist plays quietly before the arrival of the chief mourners and at the end of the service as the congregation leaves. You may request something specific, but do bear in mind that any music you choose will then be forever linked in your mind with this occasion. It may be better to leave it up to the organist who will have a wide repertoire of suitable pieces to play.

There is opportunity for two hymns and a psalm or psalm-based hymn. If the deceased had favourites this is easily settled but, so often, one simply cannot remember what they liked.  In that case, you may like to choose something uplifting or an appropriate funeral hymn. Singing brings comfort and strength, and also can release the tension of the occasion, bringing about a sense of calm.

Here are a few suggestions to help you in your choice of hymns:


 Praise my Soul, the King of Heaven

All things bright and beautiful

Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah

O Jesus, I have promised

Love Divine

The day Thou Gavest, Lord, is ended

Abide with Me 


The Psalm may be read or sung. Some hymns are based on psalms, and make good alternatives, e.g. The Lord's my Shepherd or The King of Love My Shepherd is - both based on the 23rd Psalm. The St John's Leadership team will, of course, help you on this if required. If you would like to discuss a funeral at St John's with the Reverend Peter Willox you may wish to contact him initially via the following email address - to arrange an initial meeting.

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