On 23 March 2021, it will be one year since the first UK lockdown. Since then, millions of people have been bereaved. The restrictions we have all been living under have meant that many people have had to grieve without the comfort of having friends and family around them.
Marie Curie, a charity that supports people around the event of a terminal diagnosis, has organised a National Day of Reflection to reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future. The national Church of England is one of several organisations supporting it, and the Life Events team will provide some additional, bespoke resources for parishes to use if they want to join in.
On the 23 March, there will be a minute’s silence at 12 noon to create a moment that shows support for the millions of people who’ve been bereaved. It might also be a day to connect with someone who is grieving. This might be in simple ways such as having a chat with them, sending a card, a message, or giving them some spring flowers.
How can our church be involved?
These are several suggestions for how 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.
Design a service on March 21st so that details about the Day of Reflection can be included – worship and prayer resources will soon be 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.
If you can, make arrangements for the church’s bell to be tolled for one minute at noon on the day.
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, everyone knows someone: six out of ten adults have lost someone in the last year where they would have attended the funeral. Four out of ten say they have lost someone close to them.
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 a sign of their prayer and support for all who are bereaved.
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 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 it on social media.
Use the 8.00 pm ‘share the light’ moment to light candles and lanterns in windows.
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.
What resources are available?
You might like to use either of these specially written prayers:
Be with us as we think about all that has changed this year,
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,
God of Love, As we think about all that has changed this year,
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
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