Monthly Memorial Service in accessible language

Merry Evans

We have had a monthly memorial service in my parish for some years. As we take large numbers of funerals each month, it was felt that a service of memorial would be of benefit for the bereaved families. For a long time this took the form of a weekly parish evensong which simply had prayers and a sermon that were focused on the needs of the recently bereaved. We decided to re-imagine our liturgy to make it more accessible for bereaved families who have little experience of church. The same liturgy is used each month and the hymns which are sung are chosen from the list of twenty or so which are regularly chosen for funeral services. The idea behind this is that those who attend should be able to sing along with at least one or two hymns. We are lucky enough to have a choir, of up to 14 individuals, who also sing a song carefully chosen by our organist. This gives the congregation the opportunity to reflect on the talk, remember their loved ones, to listen to the words of the song or just to sit peacefully.