These are the services held around All Souls’ day which offer people an opportunity to remember those they love but see no longer, whether the loss is recent or long ago, and to support and maintain contact with bereaved families whether or not they have had a Church of England-led funeral.
Many churches find that ‘Remembering’ services are some of their largest congregations. The good news is that Church of England Funerals research indicates that people want and hope to be followed up by the church after the funeral. Here are some ways to help share a message of comfort and hope with even more people.
To help with invitation:
- You can use this card as part of your wider funerals ministry to bereaved families by inviting them to an annual All Souls’ or ‘Remembering’ service.
- Including children in the season of remembering is important. Share this free article about what All Souls’ and All Saints’ services are all about, to publicise your services to families with children.
- Hallowe’en is a good time to invite and involve children in All Souls’ too. This free editorial may help you do that and encourage conversation about the origins of Hallowe’en.
- This can be a good opportunity to partner with a local funeral director and other bereavement groups as they too want to offer longer term support to families. Why not go and talk to them and see if they are interested in coming along and being involved in some way?
In the service
Involve the whole congregation in prayers in a personal way, for example:
- The prayer memory box: provide lots of postcards so that everyone has one – they can be colourful or plain. Also have a fairly large, attractive box ready at the front. Invite people to write a brief ‘memory prayer’ on their postcard to say thank you to God for special memories of a person they are remembering that day – perhaps a particular memory of good times with them, or writing their name on the card simply to remember their whole unique life – and place it in the box. Some suitable music could be played while people bring their cards to ‘post’ in the box. As an alternative to the box, cards could also be pinned onto a display board instead.