COLIN GREEN | Songs, hymns, prayers, poems

Songs and hymns

There is so much to choose from and it would be my pleasure to assist you in selecting the most appropriate, if you wish. For a crematorium service one or perhaps two songs would be sufficient. I am happy to assist you in this choice. 

In approximately one quarter of the services I have taken, families have decided not to have any hymns or songs, but either have a quiet service or simply use the organist or CDs to provide some music at certain points in the service, such as during a time of quiet reflection after a tribute has been given.

Traditional hymns and modern songs
Here are the most commonly chosen hymns and songs in funerals I have led during the two and a half years, in order of frequency used by the families whom I have been serving:

All things bright and beautiful

The Lord's my Shepherd

Abide with me

Morning has broken

Amazing Grace

And did those feet (Jerusalem)

The Day Thou gavest

On a hill far away (The old rugged cross)

O Lord my God (How great Thou art)

Praise my soul the King of heaven

Dear Lord and Father of mankind

Love divine all loves excelling

There is a green hill far away

Lord of all hopefulness

The Lord's my Shepherd (And I will trust)

Guide me O Thou great Redeemer

I danced in the morning (Lord of the dance)

Lead us heavenly Father lead us

We plough the fields and scatter

Eternal Father strong to save

Fight the good fight

Immortal, invisible, God only wise

Make me a channel of your peace

All people that on earth do dwell

Faithful One so unchanging

Great is Thy faithfulness

Now thank we all our God

Onward Christian soldiers

The King of love, my Shepherd is

To everything, turn, turn, turn

And can it be that I shouldst gain

Be Thou my vision

For the beauty of the earth

Give me joy in my heart

I the Lord of sea and sky

I will sing the wondrous story

In heavenly love abiding

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho

Just as I am without one plea

Nearer my God to Thee

O let the Son of God enfold you

One day at a time sweet Jesus

Teach me my God and King

What a friend we have in Jesus

Who would true valour see

Wonderful Lord, Wonderful God

Songs from live musicians
In about 10% of funerals in the last three years music and singers have been provided live, either by myself on acoustic guitar, sometimes assisted by other singers, or occasionally by professional singers hired for the occasion.  One such singer who assists me when required is Julie Jones, who can be found at  The most frequently requested song in this combination of acoustic guitar and voices is Amazing Grace.  Other songs which have been presented in this way include: "Turn, turn, turn (to everything there is a season), I danced in the morning (Lord of the Dance), the modern version of The Lord's my Shepherd (And I will trust) and Wonderful Lord, Wonderful God".  Another excellent contemporary song which I can particularly recommend for a funeral is Faithful One So Unchanging. There is no extra fee for these songs if I am singing on my own, but  when other singers come, a modest extra charge to cover both singing and transport costs will be made. If you invite me to make the customary visit to your home, to prepare the service together, I can introduce you to these songs if you would like me to do so. 

The more unusual!
Everyone is different and this may or may not be for you, but the Co-operative Group's Funeral Service says that there has been an increase in the number of requests for pop songs (as reported by the BBC). It appears that the current 'top ten' are:
1.  Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)
2.  My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion)
3.  I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston)
4.  Simply The Best (Tina Turner)
5.  Angels (Robbie Williams)
6.  You'll Never Walk Alone (Gerry And The Pacemakers)
7.  Candle In The Wind (Elton John)
8.  Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers)
9.  Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel)
10.  Time To Say Goodbye (Sarah Brightman)

However, some song choices are less obvious, with the more unusual requests including: Firestarter by dance group The Prodigy; Queen's Another One Bites The Dust; and the Village People's YMCA. Other odd choices include Wham!'s Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain and the theme from ITV's News At Ten.

Prayers and poems

The Bible
There are very many commonly used verses from the Bible which can help us in the service. These include the following::
  •  Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  Thomas said to him, "Lord we don't know where You are going, so how can we know the way?"  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  (John chapter 14, verses 1-3, 6, 27)

  • The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23: a Psalm of David). 

 •  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. … And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new.  (Excerpts from Revelation chapter 21, verses 1-5). 

I shall be most happy to select some verses on your behalf, or look at some together with you when planning the service.

If you search the Internet for funeral poems, you'll quickly find a very large range indeed. I also have quite a range we can consider together.  I have a wide range of poems to offer, some with a spiritual content and some without.  Here are a few sample lines from two poems that I find particularly helpful to those who are travelling the journey through bereavement:

My Memories
On the road that all must tread
You have travelled on ahead
Out into the morning light
Out of reach and out of sight
But never far away
For every night and every day
On the wings of memory
Something brings you back to me
Some simple and familiar thing
Will start my heart remembering

By Patience Strong


We Can Choose
We can choose to grieve, for grieve we must
Or we can pretend that the road's not that tough
We can choose to pity our sad state
Or treasure the memories we know are great…
We can leave all alone the ones deep in their grief
Or sit alongside them and bring some relief

Loving each other's the way we must follow
It's not easy, but together we can face tomorrow.

By Colin Green