Charles Cowling
  Darius, a king of ancient Persia, was intrigued by the variety of cultures he met in his travels. He had found, for example, that the Callatians, who lived in India, ate the bodies of their dead fathers. The Greeks, of course, did not do that – the Greeks practised
Charles Cowling
  Back in the middle ages, established churches hung on to their right to bury the dead when new churches were built nearby to serve a growing population. Burial rights brought in revenue. This meant that parishioners of churches without a right to bury their dead were compelled to take
Charles Cowling
  Last week I passed an empty hearse going the other way. It set me musing. Freed from its solemn duties, no longer slowed by a weighty coffin and all the gravitas attendant upon such a thing, emptied of flowers and no longer the misty-eyed focus of profoundly sad people,
Charles Cowling
  Photograph by Bill Henson   Posted by Jenny Uzzell There is a very useful word frequently used by anthropologists and students of religion and mythology to describe something that is neither one thing nor the other; something that is ‘in between’. The word is ‘liminal’. Classic examples of things that
Charles Cowling
The funeral of Mitul Shah We bear mortality by bearing mortals — the living and the dead — to the brink of a uniquely changed reality: Heaven or Valhalla or Whatever Is Next. We commit and commend them into the nothingness or somethingness, into the presence of God or God’s
Charles Cowling
  From the Westminster Confession of Faith, 1646, the foundational doctrine of the Scottish reformation church.  WHEN any person departeth this life, let the dead body, upon the day of burial, be decently attended from the house to the place appointed for publick burial, and there immediately interred, without any
Charles Cowling
  Writing in the spring 2013 issue of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management Journal, the editor, Bob Coates, writes: What was once the abnormal is now the normal with respect to funeral ceremonies on our premises … Less enamoured, however, may be the funeral director. Some may find
Charles Cowling
As Jenny Uzell embarks on a series of posts which will consider the knotty question, What Is A Funeral For? it’s worth reflecting on what has been a game of two halves, funeralwise, in the last fortnight. Two people have expressed contrasting approaches to a funeral. First, there was Dave
Charles Cowling
Watch Jewish Burial Practices on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. Last year’s TV documentaries revealed shocking scenes in funeral home mortuaries which horrified undertakers as much as they did the public. But just as the documentaries did not rouse the public to descend in angry mobs on
Charles Cowling
  What a professional mourner might look like   When media people phone the press office here at the GFG-Batesville Shard, their requests for information often conform to whatever they suppose to be trending. “We’re doing something on living funerals. Are these catching on?” “No.” “We’re doing a documentary about