‘Bereavement: an ongoing concern’ delivered on Thursday, May 14th 2020, 10am. Everyone’s experience of bereavement is unique, but the way we can offer our support has changed during this unprecedented time. During this session we looked at who the bereaved are and how everyone in our churches can support them.
Bereavement: an ongoing concern – delivered May 14th 2020
Slides from the presentation given by Canon Sandra Millar, Head of Church of England Life Events
Download here (PDF) Webinar Bereavement 14th May 2020 SM
Slides from the presentation given by Yvonne Tulloch, Founder and CEO of the bereavement support charity, ataloss.org.
Download here (PDF) Webinar Slides Bereavment 14th May YT
The new video resource on bereavement from the Church of England – shown during Yvonne’s presentation. (For subtitles, click the CC button when watching on YouTube).
Lots of questions were asked during this webinar, so we can’t answer them all, but this offers a selection of the common issues which attendees were interested in.
Q: Please can you say something about GDPR and ongoing contact – particularly how you sensitively ask for their consent to keep contacting them and to share their details with a church bereavement team if appropriate?
A: When you’re having the first conversations about the funeral service and/or for a remembering service later on, you are collecting details at that point. This is the moment to ask if you can hold their data and keep in touch in the future. Tell them the church is always there for them and the bereavement team would like to be available for ongoing support, if that is something they would like.
- The Life Events Diary can help with collecting, storing and managing data for all your contacts. Find out more.
- Follow this link for more on GDPR and Life Events
Q: I’m hearing a lot more anger from people in the grieving process at the moment. Do you have any advice?
A: Listening, as opposed to trying to persuade them to see things differently, is a key part of supporting someone who is bereaved and especially so when they express anger . “What you are feeling is common and understandable” can be a helpful phrase. Anger is a common response in the grieving process and it would be unsurprising to see more of this kind of response in the current circumstances when people have not experienced a funeral or grief support in the usual ways. Refer contacts to specialist grief support networks for additional support. AtALoss have an online Grief Chat service in operation now.
Q: How can we involve the wider congregation in bereavement ministry?
A: Ministry around funerals, bereavement and remembering is a ministry for all. Prayer is the simplest way for the congregation as a whole to support those who grieve and we offer a few resources to help with that, listed below. Ask a few people if they might give someone a phone call every so often to see how they are. Encourage them to watch the advice given in the ataloss.org video above.
- Prayer bookmark to encourage congregation to pray for the bereaved
- Use this sympathy card to keep in touch with grieving families after a funeral – anyone can send this card – ask your bereavement ministry team to help (if you have one), or a couple of people in your congregation, whether they can do this sometimes. If you’ve checked with families that you can share their details with others for bereavement support, it will be fine to pass on addresses.
Q: How can we access the courses and accreditation that Yvonne mentioned in her presentation and would there be any charge for our church to take part?
A: All of the courses are linked to from the new Loss and Hope webpage. There would ordinarily be a small charge for some of the courses to cover course materials for the participants and the travel costs of a facilitator, Bereavement Care Awareness is an example. However with the Covid-19 pandemic making face-to-face training impossible at the moment, At A Loss and Care for the Family are looking at ways of providing online training. Please keep an eye on the Loss & Hope webpage above for the latest information.