Quaker funerals

Quakers are a denomination of Christianity who are formally known as the Religious Society of Friends. Quaker funerals are traditionally simple ceremonies that combine the rite of honouring the life of the loved one who died and celebrating the presence of God.

A core belief for Quakers is that everyone is equal before God. The funeral is led by a minister (Friend) or an elder who will speak to the mourners about how the ceremony will proceed. The funeral is held in a plain building (meeting house) and, owing to the extent of autonomy in the Quaker tradition, funeral practices can vary depending on where they are held.

A key feature in the Quaker religion is known as ‘Open Worship’, a period of silence where friends and family can offer their thoughts and reflection to the congregation.

Here’s a guide to help you plan or prepare to attend a Quaker service.

What happens before a Quaker funeral service?

In Quakerism, there is an emphasis on preparing for your death. Making a will and recording your wishes to make things easier for those arranging the funeral are important parts of the religion.

What is a Quaker funeral service like?

They can take place at a meeting house, at a crematorium, graveside or any preferred location.

Often mourners will be given something on arrival that will explain the proceedings. Hymns are not generally part of the Quaker funeral tradition, although Open Worship, spontaneous prayer, funeral music or reciting funeral poems are common.

The funeral ends with all mourners shaking hands with each other after the coffin is withdrawn from the meeting house.

How long after death is a Quaker funeral?

Funerals are generally held a week after the loved one has passed away, but this can be later depending on the circumstances surrounding the death.

How long does a Quaker funeral service last?

A Quaker funeral typically lasts between 60-90 minutes.

What happens at a Quaker burial?

There are no specific restrictions for Quakers when it comes to burial so the deceased can either be buried or cremated, depending on the wishes of the family.

What do you say at a Quaker funeral?

There is an emphasis on silent reflection at Quaker funerals. Mourners remain silent during the ceremony and only speak if they feel compelled to. This can involve sharing memories about the person who has died, reading poems, sharing reflections and more, but there’s no pressure to contribute. If you prefer to sit quietly, that’s absolutely fine.

Do you send flowers to a Quaker funeral?

Quaker funerals are typically simple ceremonies so flowers are not commonly sent. In fact, as sustainability is a popular belief in Quakerism, cremation is often chosen instead of the deceased being buried.

In this instance, rather than having flowers, a photo of the deceased is placed on a small table at the meeting house and money donations are given instead.

What should I wear to a Quaker funeral?

There isn't a defined dress code for a Quaker funeral. The emphasis is instead on quiet, respectful reflection.

What happens after a Quaker funeral service?

An important belief in Quakerism is that funerals are for the living rather than for the deceased. There is no tradition following the Quaker funeral service. If the family of the loved one chooses to have a wake or a reception, this is completely down to their own wishes.

How much does a Quaker funeral cost?

The cost of a Quaker funeral varies depends on the deceased family’s wishes for the service. The cost also depends on where in the UK it is taking place. Your local funeral director will be able to let you know how much the funeral will cost. Find out more about funeral costs.

Our funeral directors can help you arrange a Quaker funeral service for your loved one. We’re experienced in arranging funerals for all, regardless of faith, religion or culture. We’re available to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Find your local funeral home

Enter your town or postcode to find a Co-op funeral home near you.