St. John's Toorak has been the venue for many services celebrating the lives of all manner of people over a great many years. The staff at St. John's are well used to preparing and leading services of this nature, and are always willing to consider the particular needs and wishes of the families concerned. Whilst there is considerable flexibility, it should be noted and understood that St. John's Toorak is an Anglican Church and that an Anglican Church can only be used for the purposes of Anglican services of worship, with an Anglican priest presiding. This means that it is not possible for St. John's Church to be "hired out" or "used" for other purposes. It should be further noted that under no circumstances may a civil celebrant lead, preside or participate at any part of a funeral service in St. John's church or in the Buxton Hall.
THE ORDER OF SERVICE
The order of service is arranged in consultation with the clergy who will be preside at the service. Extensive instructions, together with a collection of resources and a downloadable template are available by following the links above. St. John's clergy are able to produce a template of the order of service in MS Word format containing the text of the readings and hymns as selected in consultation with those planning the funeral, together with the prayers said by all, and to supply this by email to a printer or funeral director for printing.
Some families request that there be a viewing of the deceased in the Church prior to the commencement of the service. Whilst this is usually best done at the Funeral Director's facilities, if circumstances are such that it is requested this take place in the Church, this can be arranged with the clergy and Funeral Director. Generally, the viewing will take place in the Angel Chapel and will be scheduled to conclude well before the commencement of the service.
BEFORE THE SERVICE
There is no need for family members to arrive at the church early on the day of the funeral as seats will be reserved for the immediate family at the front of the Church. Many families like to gather in the Angel Chapel prior to the service, and to be escorted into the church and to their reserved seats just prior to the commencement of the service.
It is sometimes requested that there be an audio-visual display of the deceased’s life as part of a funeral service. With a large vaulted nave and several stone pillars, the architecture of St John's means it is difficult to place a screen inside the church that can be viewed by all. For these reasons it is best that such displays be a part of the wake fllowing the service.
Where the deceased served in the armed forces, the RSL rites may be included at an appropriate point in the service. Usually, a member of the RSL will lead this part of the service immediately prior to the committal. If the service is followed by a burial or cremation, the RSL rites will take place at the cemetery or crematorium. The church has no objection to national flags adorning the coffin and considers this entirely appropriate for a person who served their country in the armed forces.
AFTER THE SERVICE
Those arranging a funeral may hire the well appointed Buxton Hall, adjacent to the Church, for refreshments after the service.
The St. John's catering guild may be able to provide catering. Contact the parish office to check the price per person and availability of the Guild.