Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium has installed an automated music system which some ministers think is removing the personal touch from funeral services.
Families are able to choose from thousands of songs and classic pieces to accompany the funeral, or chose the traditional organist.
David Tattersall has played the organ at funerals for almost 20 years. He told the The Visitor newspaper: “One or two vicars have said ‘it’s karaoke funerals’.
“It’s taking the personal side of the funeral away.”
Reverend Graham Maskery, Minister for Christ Church Broadway and Sefton Road URC Church, said: “Every family deserves the most dignified ceremony that we can possibly provide. We shouldn’t underestimate how powerful music can be.
“For me, live music provided by a professional musician, is far better than anything that can come out of a push-button machine.”
He added: “It was really bad of the management at the Crematorium to drop it on the organist at short notice. He was only given about ten days notice that this option was going to be made available, and by implication his workload will reduce.”
Listen to Premier’s Hannah Tooley speaking to Revd Maskery on the News Hour:
A spokesperson for Dignity Funerals, who own the Crematorium, said: “This is a state-of-the-art music system that is used at approximately 50 per cent of crematoria across the UK.
“The fees will remain the same and we will continue to provide an organ for those families that want to choose this service.
“Traditionally, the organists at the crematorium have been self-employed and we will continue to liaise with them on behalf of families and their funeral director.
“This system is used at many crematoria managed by Dignity and in our experience is appreciated by both bereaved families and clergy alike.
“In future it will also allow funerals to be streamed to family members living abroad or unable to attend; provide a facility for showing family photos as part of the service and record the service.”
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