*An image from a virtual funeral service as people followed remotely using the service sheet. 

Revd Judy Shaw, Assistant Curate at All Saints Church in Nettleham shares her experiences of holding the funeral of a worshipper at her church when only family could attend.

She said: “Sadly I have been doing quite a number of funeral services recently and with the rules around social gatherings it can be quite hard for the family as many of those who would have liked to pay their last respects are not allowed to be there in person. On Friday I carried out a service at the crematorium for one of our congregation so that was an extremely sad loss for all of us. But the restrictions weren’t going to stop their friends in church from honouring their life as they could follow the service remotely. This wasn’t broadcast, but knowing what time it started and using pre-prepared service sheets they could join in. 

“The Church of England has produced a number of funeral resources for the clergy to use during the pandemic and I found these very useful and would recommend them. This includes prayer cards, outline order of services and a virtual light a candle, among others.  I found the service sheet template from the website very useful and sent this all those who would be ‘virtual’ mourners. I also let people know what music would be played as the start and end of the service, which hymns were chosen and the reading. 

“People from our congregation sent me pictures* of their participation - some had lit a candle and had a small floral tribute in the form of a couple of sprigs in a vase and used their bible to follow the readings. It meant a great deal to the family of the bereaved to know that people were taking part in remembering their friend and that they had joined in.”

This story was published on Monday 20th April.