24 NOVEMBER 1990, Page 27

LETTERS Funeral rites and wrongs

Sir: Your correspondent Peter Mullen's sad experience in a hospital chapel (`Their own funeral', 10 November), is not abso- lutely typical of the Church of England at this time. To condemn the entire Church and its practice as the result of one isolated, if awful, experience is, if journa- listically attractive, factually incorrect. But this criticism of Anglican faith and practice is easy meat for the ill-informed.

In practice it is true that at crematoria (for instance) the Prayer Book Service is Still available, and still (thankfully) used. But, more importantly, in parish churches (as distinct from hospital chapels perhaps) the Prayer Book funeral service is regularly asked for, and used. And even more importantly a positive view of death is encouraged by the increasing use of the Eucharist as an expression of the Church's faith and trust in the Resurrection made known in the Broken Bread.

In my own parish, where such a Euchar- ist is from Rite B in the maligned ASB, the Service contains ten prayers from the rite of Holy Communion in the Prayer Book itself and the lessons are read from the Authorised Version of the Bible.

All this is not as exceptional as your Journal may wish to think. Your corres- pondents should do a little more research into a delicate and intricate subject.

James Owen

Little St Mary's, Cambridge