Arranging a Funeral
Fort William Kilmallie is a Parish Church. We are here for everyone living in our Parish (which covers Fort William, Caol, Corpach and a wide rural area surrounding them.) We will be pleased to help you to arrange a Christian service and to offer our support freely, whether or not you or your family member have any connection to the congregation. The members of our ministry team will help you arrange a service to be held in whatever setting is best for you and your family, but this page sets out the main arrangements for a service in one of the church buildings (and you can choose whichever is most suitable for your needs.). The Minister will talk over each step with you and answer any questions.
Due to coronavirus regulations, funeral services in the church (or anywhere else) are currently restricted to 20 people (excluding the minister and undertaker's staff). We are required to carry out contact tracing, ask people to wear masks, and to sit in designated seats in household groups, to facilitate social distancing. We can if desired prepare a videoed service in advance which is made available through our youtube facebook and web pages for those who can't attend in person.
After the pandemic is over we will look for suitable ways to provide fuller opportunities for memories and reflections. The rest of this page covers our practice in more normal times, and we hope that it will not be too long until we can resume our normal way of helping and supporting.
Our services will always involve Bible readings and prayers, and there is normally a talk reflecting on the life of the person who has passed away. Other elements of the service can vary to suit your circumstances. Family members and friends can take a direct part in the service if they wish.
The most common pattern is to begin with a service in one of the churches followed by a short service of committal and interment at the graveside or crematorium. (However the interment or cremation can take place first if you wish, and they could even be on different days. A service of thanksgiving in the church might be appropriate where there is no interment or cremation taking place, for example where the deceased has donated their body to science.) Funeral patterns are changing rapidly so feel free to ask about ways we can adapt to your needs. The practical arrangements are usually best to be made in conjunction with the Funeral Director, and the earlier you contact them the better.
Local Funeral Directors
John McLellan & Co. Ltd., Dudley Road, Fort William, PH33 6JB.
Tel: 01397 702 128 (24 hours).
Manson and MacBeath, 10 Battlefield Crescent, Inverlochy, Fort William, PH33 6NB.
Greenlees and Son, Kilmallie Road, Caol, PH33 7HE
Tel: 07895 218644
You can contact members of the ministry team directly or ask the undertaker to do that for you if you prefer. You can reach us as follows:
Rev Richard Baxter 01397 702297 Richard's email
Rev Morag Muirhead 01397 703643 Morag's email
Mr Bill Skene Bill's email
The undertaker should advise you on obtaining a death certificate. You can make provisional arrangements before you get this, so don’t wait to get in touch with the undertaker and minister, but it is best not to announce or advertise a service until the death certificate is issued. The local Registrar can be contacted before you arrange the funeral on 01397 704 583.
The Church Service
A service in one of the churches is likely to last for about 20 to 30 minutes. The content and format should be discussed with the person who will be conducting the service.
Most people choose to have hymns during the service, (most often two). The person leading the service will help you to choose suitable hymns if you wish. Organ music or recorded music can be played before and after the service. The choice of music can be discussed with the organist. We will arrange for an organist to be present unless you indicate you do not want us to do this.
You may, if you wish, decorate the church with flowers. After the funeral, you may wish to remove the flowers for your own use, or leave them in the Church for other services.
Suggested Fees and Donations
There is no fee for a minister to conduct a service. Where there is significant travel to a crematorium, travel expenses are appreciated. We suggest a donation of £100 for the use of the church building, and the organist fee is £50, but we will make sure no-one is ever excluded from having a church funeral on the basis of cost. Fees and donations can be passed on in advance or on the day of the funeral or you can arrange for the undertaker to do this on your behalf.
The Church community continues to be concerned for you in the time following your bereavement and is here with the Minister to support you. Your experience of bereavement may raise questions and issues regarding your own personal faith so please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.
Each year we hold a service of reflection for recently bereaved families, and we’ll try to make sure you get details near to the time if that if that would be helpful.
Details of our services are on the Welcome page. Visitors are always welcome. The rest of this website provides full details of the Church and its activities.
Donations towards any Charity will be uplifted by the undertaker and given to the family after the service to pass on directly.
"I am the resurrection and life, says the Lord. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies." John 11:25