A MEMORIAL service is planned at York Minster to support and aid those who have been bereaved during the coronavirus pandemic.
The memorial service, announced on York Minster’s website and Facebook page on Wednesday, is planned for when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. It is hoped that it will comfort those who have been distressed by the impact of the pandemic.
On Thursday, York Minster was unable to confirm the date or further details about who might attend the service, or what the structure would be, owing to uncertainties about when the quarantine would be lifted. It confirmed, however, that the service would be open to the public.
The Canon Pastor at York Minster, the Revd Michael Smith, said: “We wanted people to know that, in addition to what local ministers and churches will be doing for individual families, there will be an opportunity for anyone to come to a service at York Minster to grieve and give thanks for loved ones who have died, and to light a candle in their memory.”
In a letter to Church of England clergy last month, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York advised that funerals could only be conducted at gravesides and in crematorium chapels, owing to the difficulty involved in cleaning church buildings (News, 3 April).
The current government guidance on funerals states that only a small number of mourners — family and members of the deceased’s household — should attend. Social distancing measures of two feet between each person should apply, any rituals that involve close contact with the body should be avoided, and people who have suspected Covid-19 symptoms should stay away altogether.