Funerals are being significantly impacted by the current situation. There is a huge need for bereavement care, as well as adapting to a short ceremony. This page will be updated regularly with resources to help you share God’s love and hope with those in your community.
At present you are able to hold small funeral services (30 guests maximum) by the graveside and at the crematoria and inside churches, keeping to guidelines of hygiene and social distancing.
Not attending a funeral is a very difficult experience for people, in spite of recent suggestions that ‘no fuss’ is a good idea. The reality is many will feel additional grief, especially if they could not say goodbye properly.
- Liaise with your local funeral directors: they are gathering a lot of information, both practically and pastorally. Many families will no longer get to meet with them in person, and the situation will be stressful for everyone involved. Make sure they know who is available, and about the online resources, prayers and advice available to families.
- Mostly, it will not be possible to make a pastoral visit, so phone calls and video calls to help families with the arrangements will be important, especially where premature and tragic deaths occur.
- Send a card with a prayer if possible – there is a FREE ready-made one here to download at home.
- Reassure them that you will still be praying for them and their friends and family, whether or not they would have had a church funeral.
- Suggest to people that they can light a candle online. Download a free poster, plus download free social media images to help you tell people about this option.
- Email or post out a Funeral reflection to those who will be absent so they use at home of they wish on the day of the funeral. A new resource has been published for this purpose – download it here.
- If there are Order of Service booklets being done, ask the funeral director to email a copy so that the family can forward them on to those who can’t be there.
- Think about different ways you can offer services after the crisis. For example, additional remembering services, not just at All Souls, or a specific personal space either formal and informal. This Invitation to remember card may help you initiate conversations about this.
- Ongoing bereavement support will be an especially acute need in communities during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Consider whether anyone in your church might like to take part in a six session online course ‘The bereavement journey’ offered by Loss and Hope, (a charity with which the Church of England is partnered).
FREE resources for Funerals
The first of a series of webinars has been broadcast to support churches during the Covid crisis. Follow this link to see details.
1. Invitation to remember card: Download it here.
This card has been specially designed to send or give to anyone who has been bereaved during the Coronavirus pandemic. Use it to show your sympathy for their loss and to warmly invite them to talk to you about ways to remember the person that they miss; whether that means making plans for a remembering service, coming in to church to sit quietly and pray, or being involved in another way of remembering in your community. You can also have this card printed for free in packs of 5 – visit the Church Print Hub to place your order.
2. Thanks, pray, remember: an inter-generational service for remembering someone special who has died. Download it here.
This service has been particularly designed to include those who may have experienced loss for the first time, especially of a grandparent, and been unable to go to their funeral.
3. Funerals Industry Support Card (e-mailable version). Download it here.
Show solidarity, appreciation and care for your local Funeral Director and crematoria staff by sending a simple card. This version can be e-mailed, but if you’d prefer to put a card in the post, order your free pack from the Church Print Hub.
4. Reflection for use at home for those who can’t attend a funeral. Download it here.
A service that can be said at home to remember someone who has died. To be used on the day of the funeral or at any time to reflect on the person’s life and find comfort. These service sheets can be sent out to people who cannot attend a funeral, perhaps with a prayer card
5. Sympathy card for those who can’t attend a Funeral. See the quick download version here.
A card to offer comfort to people who can’t attend a funeral. It features a short prayer which could be said at home on the day of the funeral, or the days after.
6. Bookmark-style Prayer Card for those who can’t attend a funeral. Download it here.
These bookmark-sized cards can be sent out to remind people that God is with them and their friends and family when they cannot gather together for a funeral. They feature a short prayer which could be said at home on the day of the funeral or the days after.
7. Poster to raise awareness of the online Light a Candle tool – helpful for people who can’t attend a funeral. See the quick download version here
“Show you care when you can’t be there” A poster to display in your community, on the church noticeboard, or in parishioners’ windows to bring hope and a sense of being connected in unsettling times.
8. Downloadable social media images to raise awareness of the online Light a Candle feature
“Show you care when you can’t be there” A social media download pre-sized for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Light a Candle is a way of remembering someone who has died and of marking their funeral even when you can’t be there in person. Post this image on social media to offer support to people who are grieving alone at home.
9. E-mailable booklet to send to anyone who may be thinking about planning their own funeral – Download it here
Death and funerals are making daily headlines, and this can be a prompt for people to think about their own mortality. Losing someone close can also highlight how difficult it can be to plan a funeral for someone else, especially if they didn’t leave behind any ideas for what they wanted. Becoming ill, or having a close brush with death can also make people think about their funeral. Whatever the reason, people in your parish may want to think about planning their own funeral in order to help their surviving family when that time arrives. The attached document will help them to do that. It includes choices that are available in a church-led funeral and space to record preferences. It can be easily emailed to anyone as a PDF attachment along with this link for more detailed information: https://www.churchofengland.org/life-events/funerals/my-funeral-plans.