Vigil Eucharists

Jeremy Brooks

Increasingly now, church families have asked for a vigil eucharist to be held on the night before a funeral. This is often because the family want to go to the crematorium for the committal before the main service, so this allows their loved one to rest in death in the church where they were so active in life. A candle-lit service, where symbols of their loved one’s faith, such as the water and candle of baptism, a bible and cross, and the consecrated bread and wine are placed on the coffin can be very powerful. The Eucharist is shared with all those present. On a practical note, we do not sit with the coffin all or part of the night. People are free to leave when they are ready, but we acknowledge the presence of the angels and indeed God, ‘who neither slumbers nor sleeps’.