National Day of Reflection 2022

Bereavement has been in everyone's mind during the pandemic.  The National Day of Reflection, coordinated by the charity Marie Curie and officially supported by the Church of England, is a special day to reflect together on loss and grief. Local churches can play a part. Here’s how.

On 23 March 2022, it will be two years since the first UK lockdown. Whether a death is recent or long ago, and whether or not it was due to Covid-19, every year there are millions of people bereaved. The restrictions we’ve all been living under have meant that many people have had to grieve without friends and family around them.  

Following last year’s successful first National Day of Reflection, Marie Curie, a charity which supports people around a terminal diagnosis, is once again spearheading a day to acknowledge grief and loss. The national Church of England is one of several organisations supporting it, and the Life Events team are again providing some additional, bespoke resources for parishes to use if they want to join in. 

WHAT WILL BE HAPPENING ON THE DAY OF REFLECTION?

This year there will be activities happening throughout the day on the 23rd March, beginning with dawn services and ending with buildings being “lit up” in yellow or people putting lit candles in their windows.  

The focus of the day will still be a minute’s silence at 12 noon, but there will also be ‘Walls of Reflection’ for the first time this year; simple spaces where people can leave a photograph, write a name or a memory, gather and support each other in our grief. It is hoped that Walls of Reflection will be created in workplaces, schools, churches, temples, mosques and community venues. There are plans for Marie Curie to host an online Wall of Reflection, too.  

The theme this year is very much about ‘connection’ and the logo remains unchanged, giving us the opportunity to re-use and add to last year’s resources.  

The timetable for the day looks like this:

6-9am

Sunrise activity, including short films and interviews on breakfast TV. Faith groups hold dawn services or morning prayer.

11am

Coffee break / brew-time at the Wall of Reflection

12noon 

A minute's silence: a minute to reflect, a moment to connect

Afternoon 

Online streamed conversations and talks including:

  The Memory Table – TV Chefs and celebrities share recipes they’ve learnt from people they miss
 

A panel discussion on bereavement and health inequalities

8pm

Light up in yellow, candles in windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW CAN OUR CHURCH BE INVOLVED?

These are several ways you might join in as a church – even just doing one or two things will help the whole campaign to reach bereaved people in your community. 

Before the day

  • Design your service on March 20th so that details about the Day of Reflection can be included – worship and prayer resources are provided below so you have a range of things to choose from. 
  • Put up posters to raise awareness – there are free ones to download, see below under resources. 
  • Publicise the day through your usual channels – social media, newsletters, service notices, etc. There are specially re-sized social media graphics for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram available to download from the campaign website
  • Think about whether you could create a Wall of Reflection in your church, in the church hall or maybe even in the churchyard. If you think someone in your community is creating their own Wall, why not arrange to join in, either in person or by praying for them?  
  • Email or print off and send a prayer postcard to anyone and everyone to use at home on that day – you can download a free one, see below under resources. 
  • Encourage people to phone or send a card to anyone who may feel bereaved - or a remembering someone badge (see resources). Everyone knows someone who is bereaved. Church of England research from 2021 shows us that during the first year of the pandemic six out of ten adults knew someone who died where they would have attended the funeral. Four out of ten say someone close to them died.  You might like to share this video to encourage everyone in your church to ‘Contact, Listen and Bless’ people who are bereaved. 
  • Attend a Bereavement Friendly Church (Leader Training) session facilitated by lossandhope.org to help you and your congregation better understand more about how to support bereaved people. And consider planning for the six-session Bereavement Journey to support bereaved people in your local community.
  • In everything you do on the day direct bereaved people to  AtaLoss.org, the UK’s bereavement signposting website, where they can find support organisations, resources, helplines and Griefchat - a free, live webchat service - available to help them in their grief. This short video shows bereaved people how to easily find support. It could helpfully be added to your church website immediately to provide long term support to bereaved people in your community.
  • Don’t forget to be part of the Map of Light by advertising what your church is doing on the Marie Curie site: Get your organisation involved (mariecurie.org.uk) 

On the day

Early morning

  • Could you have daffodils at Morning Prayer with a special prayer for the Day of Reflection? (See resources below) Might you be able to hold a Dawn Service outside?  

Mid-morning to noon

  • Invite the community to gather at 11 by the Wall of Reflection to share memories 
  • If you can, arrange for the church’s bell to be tolled for one minute at noon on the day. 

Evening (from 8pm)

  • Use the 8.00pm ‘Share the Light’ moment to light candles and lanterns in windows 
  • If you can, floodlight the church in yellow. Remember to post pictures of candles and yellow-lit buildings on social media using the hashtag #DayOfReflection

More ideas for throughout the day

  • Involve the local school and encourage them to use the simple prayer at noon or to colour daffodil cards and deliver them to a local care home. 
  • Invite people to plant a seed, a bulb, a bush as a sign of hope Invite people to tie yellow ribbons to a prayer tree or railings as sign of their prayer and support for all who are bereaved 
  • Invite people to put daffodils – or drawings of daffodils (see resources) – in the window to show their support Contact your local media to see if you can go and talk about grief and loss.
  • You can share with them recent Church of England research that shows two thirds of people definitely expect the church to be there for those who want to talk. 
  • Light a special candle in the church and say the prayer – film it with your camera and share on social media 
  • Open your church for private prayer on that day, if you are able. 
  • Re-share any posts about it from the national Church of England and Marie Curie Facebook and Instagram pages. Use the hashtag #DayOfReflection 

You might like to share this BSL (British Sign Language) prayer video from your social media account or include it as part of your online services

WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE?

You might like to use either of these specially written prayers: 

Dear God, 
Be with us as we think about all that has changed, 
And help us to trust that you are always with us. 
Be close to us as we remember those who have died, 
And help us to trust they are at peace with you. 
Show us how to reach out to others with kindness and care, 
So that hope shines out in every heart and home, 
Amen 

Or: 

God of Love, 
As we think about all that has changed, 
help us to trust that you are always with us. 
As we remember those who have died, 
help us to trust they are at peace with you. 
As we reach out to others with kindness and care, 
may hope shine out in every heart and home. 
Amen  

 

  • This poster can be printed in full colour or black and white and used inside or outside church to encourage people to pause, reflect, pray and reach out to someone who's been bereaved. 
  • You can print and send - or even email - this prayer postcard to anyone you know who's been bereaved to remind them of God's love and that you care. 
  • Both the prayer card and the poster are also available from the Church Print Hub here.
  • This Prayer Colouring Sheet can be used for both children and adults (link opens PDF): DayofReflection-ColourIn 

 

  • For your own reflection on how restricted funerals during the pandemic have impacted on grief, and how your church can develop its support for bereaved people beyond the Day of Reflection, read Sandra Millar’s blog. 
  • At A Loss have created these badges that people can wear to show that they are remembering someone.
  • Don’t forget to direct bereaved people to AtaLoss.org, the UK’s bereavement signposting website, where they can find organisations, resources, helplines etc to help them in their grief.
  • Watch Marie Curie’s short film, this can also be shared from your social media accounts:-