A Church of England vicar has apologised for his rant about the rise of secular funerals characterised by “ear-splitting” songs and “bad poetry”. The Rev Ed Tomlinson said he was fed up with officiating at cremations where Frank Sinatra is played as the bodies of people with no hope of resurrection are “popped in the oven”. He said he felt “like a lemon” as mourners rejected traditional hymns and prayers in favour of a “poem from Nan” or a “saccharine message from a pop star”.
The 35-year-old vicar of St Barnabas’ Church in Tunbridge Wells made the comments in a post on his blog entitled “death of death”.
He wrote: “In the last few years it has become painfully obvious that many families I have conducted funerals for have absolutely no desire for any Christian content whatsoever. I have then stood at the crem like a lemon, wondering why on earth I am present at the funeral of somebody led in by the tunes of Tina Turner (Simply the Best) …and sent into the furnace with I Did It My Way blaring out across the speakers!”
Calm down Rev! It’s just a trend. I’ve sat through several funerals myself where the most appalling music has been played. Completely cringe-worthy in my own cranky midlifer’s opinion. Pretty sure that a sense of religious decorum will eventually prevail when people realise that the majority of mourners much prefer to sing along to god music at funerals. Maybe Reverend Tomlinson himself should be the instigator of a trend to reinstate the tradition.
He might also see a marketing opportunity here, and do a deal with his parishioners. Offer them the chance to hire the village hall at half price for the wake, on the condition that he’s allowed to run the funeral in a traditional and appropriate manner. That way, the family gets to play whatever music they like for however long they like – a sort of after-funeral gig. In my own midlife experience this would go down a storm, as most middle aged people I know love a good party no matter what the circumstances.