A CREMATORIUM is to broadcast its funerals live across the internet as part of a pay-per-view service for mourners.
Coychurch Crematorium will also sell video and audio recordings of funerals for family and friends to relive their loved one’s final journey.
But some church leaders have criticised the plans, saying it cheapens the funeral service and exploits vulnerable families.
The Rev Geoffrey Fewkes, of Hope Baptist Church, said: “It’s a joke – grief is very personal and the expression of grief is very personal. I think to broadcast it on the internet shows a lack of concern for the individual.”
The plans were approved by Coychurch Crematorium Joint Committee in early March last year and will come into effect over the coming months.
Members agreed to fund a new sound system so sympathisers unable to travel to the service can watch at home online at a cost of about £30.
The new sound system also creates £15 audio recordings of services and video recordings, priced at around £20 each.
The company also enables families to purchase electronic music online to guarantee the deceased’s favourite tunes will be played at the funeral service.
The new sound system – which cost £6,000 – became operational in March this year, but issues with the quality of the crematorium’s broadband connection delayed the web-casting service.
Web broadcasts and recordings of funeral services will not be open to the general public and will only be accessed online through a password-protected system.
The Rev Fewkes believes the idea of recording and broadcasting a funeral online cheapens the service.
The 69-year-old said in his 43 years in the ministry he has never been asked for a funeral service to be recorded.
“This is typical of the voyeurism of the age,” he said. “We want to see your embarrassment and we want to see your grief.”
A spokesman for Bridgend council said the new facilities have all been based on feedback and are designed to improve the overall quality of the service.
“A discrete, password-protected webcasting facility has been introduced,” he said.
“It will be available only at the request of the family and with the agreement of the priest, vicar or minister delivering the funeral service.
“It is designed to accommodate family members or friends of the deceased who are unable to attend the funeral.
“The family of the deceased will be able to control who receives the password.
“The webcasting will also be limited to the front area of the crematorium and will not include assembled mourners.”