‘Emotionally difficult’ - Norfolk rector speaks about ‘unusual’ funerals during lockdown
PUBLISHED: 13:37 06 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:37 06 June 2020
A Norfolk rector has shared the emotional difficulty of carrying out funerals during lockdown and how his congregation have adapted to support one another virtually.
The Rev Dr David Karoon, who covers 12 churches in west Norfolk, has said he is finding funerals during this period hard as he has been unable to carry out services within church buildings.
The rector, who conducts around three funerals a week, has also set up a support network made up of retired priests and church workers to offer regular support within his parish group.
Rev Karoon said: “We are now only allowed to officiate at graveside funeral services and attendance is restricted to immediate family only.
“This is extremely difficult for grieving families but they have been very understanding of the unusual circumstances. We do however offer them a memorial service in the church at a future date.
“I am no longer able to visit bereaved families to offer them comfort and plan funeral services.
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“This is emotionally difficult, but we have tried to stay in touch by telephone and offer families the best support we can.”
The West Norfolk Priory Group Benefice comprises of the churches of Fincham, Marham, Nordelph, Runcton Holme, Shouldham, Shouldham Thorpe, Stow Bardolph, Stowbridge, Tottenhill, Watlington, Wimbotsham and Wormegay.
Barbara Church, churchwarden at Watlington Church, said: “After so many years of going to church on a Sunday it was quite a shock to the system for many people, myself included, to have the regular routine changed for reasons totally out of one’s control.
“Worshipping in church on a Sunday is integral to the normal life of the church-going Christian, being part of the ‘body of Christ’, spiritually and physically and emotionally.”
The group have set up a telephone support system to stay in touch with their regular attenders, to help offer support, prayer and “a listening ear” during lockdown.
Dr Karoon has also recently started recording a morning prayer service to connect with his congregation.
The Church of England if offering support via their free telephone church service Daily HOPE. Contact them on 0800 804 8044.
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