Dying, Funerals and Bereavement

If you live in South Tonbridge and would like a clergy visit for someone who is dying or just after you have been bereaved please contact the church office or out of hours 01732 353079 (Mark Barker) or 01892 863239 (Sheila and John Perkins) and we will come as soon as we are able to.

If you’ve just been bereaved and your loved one has died at home, your first point of contact will otherwise normally be a local funeral director such as Abbey (01732 360328), Boorman (01892 541070), Groombridge (01732 353964) or Henry Paul (01732 605002).

Arranging a Funeral

If you’d like a member of the pastoral staff at St Stephen’s to be involved in the funeral, we would be delighted to help and would be very pleased to talk through funeral service options before you see the funeral director so that you know clergy and church availability. If you see the funeral director first please ask them to contact us before the date is fixed so we can make sure that clergy and/or church are available.

Once the funeral is booked, the person taking the funeral will arrange to come and meet the next of kin to talk through the kind of service you’d like. They might also ask for some details of the person who’s died to help prepare a eulogy or tribute.

Funeral Options

If you would like the service to be in church (and we strongly recommend this if you are expecting 80+ people) we suggest that the whole service is in the church including the committal so that the party stays together rather than some going to the crematorium. An alternative would be to follow the service with burial at Tonbridge or other cemetery.

We are also happy to take the service in church and to follow it with a prayer at the crematorium immediately after or later. Or we’d be happy to take a service at the crematorium or at a chapel.

For some people it is a good idea to have a family occasion with cremation or burial followed by a thanksgiving service in church later, again, we are pleased to be asked to take the service.

Bereavement Support

After the funeral, one of our bereavement team will contact you and arrange to come and see you at a later date if that would be helpful. If we can offer support in any other way, before or after the funeral, please let us know.

A group of women who have been bereaved meet at St Stephen’s church at 10 on a Tuesday morning. They are always ready to welcome new people.

Once a year, normally on Remembrance Sunday at 3pm, we will invite you to a special service at St Stephen’s for all those who’ve been bereaved in recent years and who would like a public opportunity to remember their loved ones.

For more details or if you’d like someone to talk to, please contact the church office.

Useful Links

Counselling Directory’s main purpose is ultimately to provide the UK with a huge counselling support network, enabling those in distress to find a counsellor close to them and appropriate for their needs. To find out more about this service, please see their website