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Ministry following a restricted funeral: Remembering groups of people

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“Remembrancetide” services

Many churches already have one or more occasions each year when there is a commemoration of the faithful departed. The form will vary from one church to another, depending on local tradition. Some will remember the faithful departed in general, or those whose names are sent in by members of the congregation, and they do so in the context of the eucharist. Others invite all the families for whom they have taken funeral or memorial services over the past year to a special non-eucharistic service, which can include the reading of names and the lighting of candles (and often a reception to follow). An example of such a service can be found here. These services can be adapted to take account of the fact that many of those being remembered could be given only restricted funerals, e.g. by strengthening the element of commendation in the prayers used.

Services of this kind are most often held in early November, where All Saints (1 November), The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (2 November), and Remembrance Sunday create an obvious framework for commemoration. But services of this kind can be held at other times, especially in Eastertide.

 

Particular groups in particular places

It is, one hopes, relatively unlikely that a large number of people from a single parish will have fallen victim to Covid-19, so there will not be the same need for a group commemoration that there might be at diocesan or national level. But particular institutions, notably care homes, are an exception. Ministers may wish to offer the possibility of a group commemoration, either at church, or in the care home.  Either the less formal or more formal liturgical options can be adapted to a group setting.

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