The Concept of a Good death

The concept of a good death may be strange to the everyday person for we live in a culture that tries to protect us from death.  Avoiding death is difficult because it is a powerful psychological energy that causes fear, angst, sadness, guilt, grief and despair which will always seep through the protective layers of culture.

Good religion offers a framework to help us navigate through life and integrate these primal fears into our psyche in gentle ways that lead to an integrated wholeness. It is able to do this because the religious worldview sees life and death within the bigger frame of God through which we can integrate all things into a whole.

A religious framework for a ‘good death’ is inclusive of

Practical needs: –    getting one’s affairs in order

Relational needs: –  to be able to say: I love you; thank you; and also:  I forgive you; please forgive me.

Spiritual needs: –     Peace, acceptance, completion, fulfilment, consummation, self-offering and entry into God


Our Anglican tradition gives us some very beautiful resources which take us on our continuing journey into God.

candleNight prayers ‘The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end’

The journey towards death is part of the spirituality of those living in the afternoon and eventide of life.  As Christians we see death as a gateway into God and we believe there is such a thing as a ‘good death’ and this is an ideal we aspire towards.

One of the very good resources we have in our tradition is that of “Prayer at the end of the day” (The Office of Compline) This little service, of 15 minutes in length, is about the close of the day, laying down to sleep in God, so that at daybreak we may rise to share in resurrection. It is made up of night prayers, hymns and psalms and as such it offers rich pathways to approaching death with faith in God.

Support us, O Lord, all the day long of this troublous life,

until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,

the busy world is hushed,

the fever of life is over

and our work is done.

Then, Lord, in your mercy grant us a safe lodging,

a holy rest, and peace at the last;

through Christ our Lord. Amen


The Last Rites and Anointing with oil

The Liturgy of ‘Ministry with the Dying’ is about finding our peace with our creator. If the person is able and willing it includes confession and absolution. It may include anointing, and ends with the great commendation “Go forth good Christian soul on your journey from this world…..”

It is good if family and friends can be present and participate


The funeral

A Christian funeral celebrates the life of our loved on who has died but does more than just that. We also commend our loved one into God where we believe that life continues. It is an act of celebration of life and also the offering back of our loved one back into Gods care.

We also have a commitment to continuing care after death not just in grief counselling but also in our prayers. Christians believe that the presence of our loved ones continue to live within us for the rest of our lives. This is sometimes called in grief psychology as ‘continuing bonds’, but in our Christian tradition it is called the ‘Communion of Saints’ – that is we always live within the presence of those who have gone before us.

The burial of ashes may be done in the church grounds in our garden of remembrance.

Please contact us for more information.