Advice on funerals during the Coronavirus pandemic31 Mar 2020 By Jonathan Kimber
Advice and guidance around funerals during the Coronavirus 'lockdown'.
The official Church of England guidance now states that sadly, funerals may now only happen at the Crematorium or at the graveside.
Only immediate family members can attend (if the crematorium allows) – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping their distance in the prescribed way (this is true also for burial of ashes). No wake or gathering should be held following the funeral, and this should be scheduled for a later date.
Resources from the Church of England
The Church of England has put together a range of resources for clergy and others who take funerals and these are available on their website. They include:
- Advice for clergy
- Simple orders of service for a crematorium and a graveside
- A reflection for those who are unable to attend the funeral
- Prayer cards and other printable resources
Co-ordinating funerals in the Diocese
With an increase in funerals expected, as well as the potential for clergy becoming unwell, we are putting in place a temporary arrangement within the Diocese to support funeral ministry.
The core idea is to operate a central administrative hub, with dedicated phone number and email address, which can match funeral directors with available funeral ministers. This Funeral Coordination Service is a temporary measure, which will only be used to the extent it is needed over the coming weeks and months.
The service can be accessed through 01905 732819 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The three key principles of the Funeral Coordination Service are:
- Aiming to match ‘supply’ of funeral ministry with demand – where it is needed most within the diocese
- Maintaining connections to local communities as far as reasonably possible
- Keeping things clear and straightforward
The service will move through different phases depending on demand and may look differently in some parts of the Diocese to others. Initially, funeral directors will continue to contact local ministers/ administrators in the first instance but turn to a central co-ordinating line as backup if needed. If there is a significant increase in funeral volume or decrease in ministerial availability, we would move to asking funeral directors to use the phone line as the first point of call. This may happen in some areas sooner than in others.
All parish clergy have been notified of these arrangements, for further information, please use the dedicated email address: email@example.com or call 01905 732819.
- The Vicar of Broadway has put together a booklet for those who are unable to attend a funeral which some parishes may find useful.