Planning for mourning and thanksgiving for Leicester and Leicestershire

Memorial CandleThe Bishop of Leicester has said that there will be special church services to remember local people who have died from Covid-19 as well as thanksgiving for carers and health workers in Leicester and Leicestershire.

As the national Church of England declared its intention to hold a national service of mourning and remembrance at some point in the future, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow said that he would be working with Leicester Cathedral in coming months to arrange local events at an appropriate time. 

Bishop Martyn said: “Once it is possible to see that the worst is over and that easing restrictions make planning possible, we will look at what our Cathedral and possibly other churches can do to help our communities remember and mourn their loved ones.

“We also want to properly give thanks for those carers and workers who have sacrificed so much to care for Covid-19 patients, many of whom are from BAME heritage and are bravely serving all of us despite facing increased risk of infection.

“Every one of us in each of our villages, towns and city is impacted by this pandemic in different ways. We will go on facing huge personal challenges both emotional and economic for months and years to come and moments of unity that allow us to acknowledge our deepest emotions, grief and loss, vulnerability and gratitude are going to be hugely important.

 “In our churches, schools and worshipping communities we are praying daily for people who are ill, people who are grieving, for key workers and for many who are suffering financially. We are also trying to help our neighbours in practical ways. I am encouraged by the resilience that our clergy and leaders are showing in very difficult circumstances where they cannot meet and worship in the usual way, as well as by stories of everyday acts of kindness that people in our church communities are showing as they share Jesus’s love with their neighbours in new and practical ways.”

All Souls Day (which this year falls on 2 November) is a time when the Church remembers those who have died and if it is possible by then, this might be when these services may happen.

Bishop Stephen Cottrell, who is set to become the next Archbishop of York this summer, said: “At the moment no large national service of remembrance is planned, though it is likely this may happen. However, many parish churches and cathedrals will be doing something at this time of the year [All Souls] if they can. If this were part of a wider period of national mourning the Church of England as, I’m sure, other churches and faith communities, would want to join together to support this. However, now may not be the time to commit to a certain date. The Government is unlikely to sanction any mass gathering of whatever kind for some months.

“Therefore, the holding of large national, regional or diocesan events is still some way off. Some have suggested something should be done next year on the anniversary of the lockdown beginning. The most likely next step is for smaller family commemorations and services for local communities. The Church of England is preparing worship resources for these services. They will be made available in due course. In the meantime those who are suffering, those who are dying, those who mourn and all those who care for them are prayed for each day.”

Revd Canon Alison Adams, Sub-Dean at Leicester Cathedral, said: “At Leicester Cathedral we too know both the pain of loss and the dedication of members of our community in front-line roles. Gathering together at both times of lament and thanksgiving is an important part of what holds us all together as community, and our nation has especial reason to remember and give thanks to so many who have made real sacrifices. We are actively exploring how best to do this at an appropriate time later in the year.”



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