Funerals during Covid-19

Update – 25 March, 2020

In order to keep everyone as safe as possible during the Corona Virus outbreak, the Church of England has suspended all public worship in church buildings.

Funerals can take place at the grave side or crematorium, and should be attended by the smallest number possible: immediate family (parents, spouse, children — but not children’s, spouses, etc.), or if there is no family present, one or two friends. We know how very hard and painful this is. For now, it is the only way to preserve life.

Once this crisis is past, we would like to invite you to come back to church for a memorial service so that you can honour and remember the person you loved with all their friends and family gathered together.

We know how important it is to say goodbye to the people you love. We will do everything we can to support those who are grieving, and those who may not be able to be present for the funeral of someone they love.

However, the Church of England has issued guidelines for funerals that ask us all to make sacrifices for the wellbeing of others.

In order to maintain the requirements of physical (‘social’) distancing, we need to severely limit the number of people present at each funeral, so that is just the handful of people closest to the person who has died who may attend.

In most cases, this will be immediate family members — but we know that families are built in all sorts of ways, and sometimes, the chief mourners are close friends. We ask at this time that the total number of people is kept close to the restrictions that are set for baptisms and weddings: so, 5 is the ‘target’ number, though we know this will be higher in some cases. We strongly recommend that those over 70, and anyone with underlying health conditions stay home, however hard this is.

In church, we will ask that you maintain safe distances between people. Those who live in the same house may sit together in the same pew. Otherwise, we should aim to keep a distance of 6 ft/ 2 m between people at all times.

We are not able to have an organist, nor any assistants beyond the priest and the required number of undertakers.

We promise that we will do all that we can to make the service dignified and special. Once we are through this present crisis, you will be most welcome to plan a memorial service that allows you to do all the things you would have hoped to now.

The advice we’ve been given from Church of England is available here. (You will need to scroll down to the bottom where it says ‘funerals’.

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