Many churches report that services to remember loved ones are growing faster than almost any other kind of service. Whether it’s a personal memorial or a service with others, families have a clear need after the funeral – a need which the church can help with. Use this section to explore ways to make the most of these services.
Remembering someone alongside friends and family, or with others at a service for that purpose, can offer people the space to grieve for whoever has died. Here are just a few ideas, but add your own suggestions in the Ideas section too:-
- The first anniversary of a death is often a time when the pain of loss resurfaces or intensifies, but there are also other times when people feel the need to mark a date, such as a birthday, and remember the person who has died. Be open to developing a bespoke memorial service for a family, planning as far in advance as you can, especially if it was not possible for many to attend the funeral.
- Remember to mention your ‘All Souls’ or equivalent service to all those who have had a funeral in the last year or even further back. You can publicise this on your website, and/or contact the bereaved families directly.
- The title ‘All Souls’ may not mean much to those who are not used to church. Even though that is what it is, another name, such as ‘Service for the bereaved’ may help them identify it is a service specifically for them.
- Special dates like Christmas, Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day can be difficult times for people, whether bereaved recently or long ago. Think of these people when planning sermons ahead of these services. Include appropriate prayers for those who are finding the season of celebration difficult.
- Consider putting on a different kind of service at a separate time from the main celebration, to specifically cater for bereaved families. See the Ideas section for more possibilities.