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4 Jul 2018

Funerals Workshop

'He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.'

(Revelation 21:4)

Funerals are an immensely important and sensitive ministry as family and friends come together to express grief, give thanks for a life lived and commend a person into God's keeping. That is why each year a workshop on funerals is held for some of those whose responsibility it is to exercise such a ministry.

The Funeral Workshop this year took place from 22nd-24th June at St Columba’s House, Woking, in the UK. It was led by Revd Canon Elaine Labourel (Director of Readers) and Revd Canon Paul Omrod. Eighteen Lay Ministers and Lay Ministers-in-training came together at St Columba’s from all over the diocese. Lay Ministers are required to do this workshop if they feel called to funeral ministry. Once they are licensed and have the authorisation of the Chaplain, they are permitted to carry out funeral ministry.

The way in which the church deals with one funeral may establish or destroy the confidence of a community. It is therefore right to respect this as a very important ministry which brings a lot of responsibility for those who practice it. Each funeral is as much for the wider community as it is for the closed circle of minister and mourner.

The workshop begins with understanding the grief journey and moves through the wide resources we have in Common Worship for all possible liturgy to come alongside people in mourning. Importantly for our diocese, June's gathering also allowed for sharing of the cultural differences in funeral ministry in our various locations.

The sessions were interspersed with times of worship in the chapel and times of fellowship over breaks and meals.