We came across the Dioceses of Liverpool website some time ago when researching the income tax consequences of church sponsored preneed programs. We had found that preneed funeral programs in England, Canada and Australia were often established and operated independent of the funeral home. With a high cremation rate, English churches saw an opportunity to partner with funeral directors and reclaim their funeral ministry.
The Dioceses of Liverpool is not alone in having established a program to encourage parishioners to preplan, and pre-fund, funeral arrangements. The Dioceses describes the impact of their program:
… the changes have led to something more profound for parish ministry. Funeral Directors are contacting parish clergy first to make initial funeral arrangements meaning our churches have more chance to reach out to those in need. We have to take a fresh look at our funeral ministry. It has implications for pastoral and bereavement teams, it means that more Readers are being asked to conduct funerals, it means we have to make serious efforts to work harder at funerals.
In the weeks to come, we’ll post more on church and funeral director partnerships