The Parish of St. Thomas, Werneth
We would like to offer our prayers and support to you and your family at this sad time.
This page concerns funeral arrangements at St. Thomas' Church - both at this time of pandemic, and at other times.
Without wishing to add to the burden you carry at this time, it is helpful, as you plan for the funeral, to set out the restrictions which Government regulations currently place upon us. We must all be mindful that these restrictions are there to protect those attending, in whatever capacity. First and foremost, we all have a duty to prevent the transmission of the virus, so that other lives are not put at risk.
Unfortunately, attendance at the service in church is extremely limited. In addition to the household of the deceased, only close family members may come to the service.
Friends can only attend if the deceased has no family members.
The church can only safely host 10 people. None of us would have wished for this limitation, but it is for everyone’s protection during this pandemic. I ask for your help in making sure it is observed. No one else can be allowed entry to the church, other than the Funeral Director’s staff. Please do not encourage others to meet outside the church, as such gatherings are not permitted and risk transmission of the virus.
No one suffering symptoms of Covid-19 may come to the funeral. However, it is possible for close family members who are self isolating to attend, although you will understand that there are strict conditions for this. Please see below for specific advice which you should follow closely. Do ask me or your Funeral Director if there is anything you do not understand.
As you enter and leave the church, there will be hand sanitiser available which you are asked to use. Seating will be arranged to allow for physical distancing, so that those from different households are always at least two metres apart. It would be helpful to know numbers attending from each household, in advance, so we can set out the correct number of chairs, at an appropriate distance from each other.
We are sorry that we have to abide by these restrictions, but it is our prayer that through the funeral you may yet gain much comfort as we commend your loved one into God’s loving keeping.
The singing of hymns is seen as a risk factor in transmitting the virus. While hymns, and other music, can be played, we are not able to participate in singing them.
Mourners who are self-isolating due to a possible case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their household
Key mourners of the deceased may include those who are self-isolating due to another member of the household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Where the funeral is scheduled before the period of household isolation has been completed (14 days from the first person in that household showing symptoms) mourners who are self-isolating should be facilitated to attend.
Mourners who are from a household that is self-isolating should:
- not attend if they have any symptoms of any kind, even if these are very mild
- maintain a distance of at least 2 metres between themselves and others
- advise the other mourners that they are otherwise self-isolating at home, and communicate that their presence means that others who are extremely clinically vulnerable should not attend
practise careful hand and respiratory hygiene:
- washing their hands more often -with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds or by using a hand sanitizer.
- avoiding touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
- covering their coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin which should be clearly sign-posted and readily accessible.
- use their own transport where possible.
Mourners who are extremely clinically vulnerable
Mourners who are in an extremely clinically vulnerable group should be facilitated to attend, should they decide to do so.
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should have received a letter telling them they are in this group or been told by their GP. Mourners who are in an extremely clinically vulnerable group have been advised that they should minimise their contact with others for their personal protection.
However, they may decide to attend a funeral despite the additional risk this poses to them and should be facilitated to do so. They are not advised to attend a funeral if there are others attending who are self-isolating due to another member of the household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus, as they could be incubating disease. Mourners who are extremely clinically vulnerable should follow the general social distancing advice for the clinically vulnerable mourners and should maintain a distance of 2 metres away from others as a minimum.
Actions to reduce their risk of infection could include:
- advising other attendees that there is an extremely clinically vulnerable person attending and reiterating the need to stay at home if they are unwell, and to be respectful of the vulnerable person’s need to avoid close contact at any point
- advising the mourner to travel to the venue via the safest route possible, preferably in a car by themselves, or with someone from their household
- considering the additional risk involved if attending the funeral requires travelling by public transport
- ensuring that mourners who are in a clinically vulnerable group do not attend the same ceremony as mourners who are in household isolation
- Anyone is welcome to arrange a funeral in church. You, or the deceased, do not have to be a church member.
- Services generally last around 30 minutes, including two hymns.
- The church is equipped with an induction loop for the hard of hearing.
- The church has facilities for playing music. We would ask you to provide this on a USB stick as a .wav, .mp3 or .flac file.
- In usual times, we would produce service sheets, however, this poses extra risk in this time of pandemic.
- Often a family member or friend feels able to give the eulogy, however, the Vicar is very happy to read words provided, or to discuss the contents of the eulogy with family members or friends.
- Favourite hymns at a funeral include, but are not limited to: