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New reflection for people who cannot attend a funeral

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Apr, 2020 07:00 PM

People who cannot attend a funeral because of the coronavirus restrictions are being provided with prayers and suggestions on how to pay their own tribute at home to the person who has died, in a simple guide published by the Church of England.

Under strict rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Church of England funerals may now only happen at crematoria or at gravesides. Only immediate family members can attend – if a crematorium allows – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping their distance in the prescribed way.

A new resource issued by the Church of England gives advice for those who cannot attend on how to hold a short and simple reflection at home on the day of the funeral.

This includes a set of simple prayers and suggestions, including finding a place to sit quietly, finding a photograph of the person who has died, writing down special memories of them, and playing a piece of music with a connection to the person who has died. The Church of England has also provided an online facility for people to light a virtual candle in memory of loved ones.

The Revd Canon Dr Sandra Millar, Head of Welcome and Life Events for the Church of England, said:

“It’s so difficult when you can’t go to a funeral, whether for family, friend or neighbour. You might have wanted to support a friend, or show respect, or you might want to say your last goodbye and know that your special person’s life has been honoured, prayers offered, and God’s love experienced.

“Many will not be able to do this now. When this time of social distancing is over, there may well be a time to share memories with others, but for now people can find comfort from setting aside time at home for a simple reflection, lighting a candle online or sharing a prayer card with someone else. God can feel very close in those moments.”

The reflection has been published alongside services for funerals at crematoria and at gravesides in the light of the coronavirus restrictions, alongside advice for clergy.

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