The Dean of Leicester has spoken of the need to acknowledge the grief caused by the pandemic as Leicester Cathedral prepare to livestream an online Memorial of Lament service at 7pm on 23 March, during which a candle will be lit for every life lost to the pandemic.
The national Church of England has also supported the Marie Curie campaign to make free resources available to help people reflect on the impact of grief and bereavement at this time (click here for details) and some churches will be marking the anniversary with online prayers and events.
The Cathedral's Memorial of Lament service, marking a year since the first lockdown began, will be broadcast on the Cathedral’s Youtube channel and Facebook page and will have words, music and reflections on the past year. BBC Radio Leiceter also hopes to broadcast the service.
With the Dean, the Very Revd David Monteith, Cathedral Canons and Choir, the service will also include the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, a representative of public health, police, NHS staff, volunteers and the bereaved.
In a blog on lament published ahead of the service, Dean David said: “Most people now know others who have had Covid or long Covid and know people who have died. By the time we mark the one year anniversary of lock down, we foresee something like 2,000 people will have died in our city and county. Our plans to light a candle for every lost life at an online Memorial of Lament at 7.00pm on March 23rd (free to view via Leicester Cathedral YouTube channel) will bring a fiery awareness of the scale of grief.
“We are very aware of the impact of Covid19 on our mental health. Beyond that there is a corporate grief from living a suppressed life where crucial aspects of social relating never mind pleasurable activity like going to see a film or sharing a coffee with a friend are pushed down. Life has been suppressed and there is grief.
“There is a legacy of personal and community grief. Modern theories of grief tend to emphasise the continuing nature of the bond between those who live on and the ones who are seen no longer. Like trauma we hold these things in our memory. As such grief is like a continual process of learning to live on in relationship with what is lost.”
You can read the Dean's lament article here.