Letter: Mourners shouldn't be rushed

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The Independent Online
I'M SORRY that Geraldine Bedell feels clergy are not very good at making funeral services meaningful and getting relatives to participate in paying tribute to the dead (21 November). She (and your readers) may be unaware of the constraints we operate under.

Crematoria authorities limit each service to 15 or 20 minutes. Should we exceed this, clergy are likely to be ticked off on the spot by an official and receive a letter afterwards. This was my experience when I went one minute over time in order to incorporate hymns and readings requested by the family of a lifelong church member.

Until crematoria start to reform themselves and offer more flexibility I would advise relatives to ask their minister for a service in church followed by a short committal in the crematorium. Freed of the need to keep an eye on the clock, he or she will be in a better position to help the bereaved mourn fittingly and to remind them of their own mortality.

Peter Hatton

High Street Methodist Church