Many families have opted to wait for a memorial service after lockdown; but this extends the time of waiting for that element of leave-taking, and so prolongs and possibly distorts the natural process of bereavement. One alternative is to offer a full memorial service on-line. Marjory MacLean has done this three times so far, and it has been greatly appreciated by the family on each occasion. She is happy to talk any minister through the process. In brief though, it works like this:
The service would be prepared exactly as you prepare online Sunday worship, using whichever platform you’re comfortable with (see www.youtube.com/c/marjorymaclean for a sample of Sunday services using that platform), except that it is advisable to be able to make the service public but then withdraw it from public view again after a fixed time.
- The on-line service is the same as the service you would have had in church in the kind of funeral that has a church service and a separate committal. The committal is conducted privately in accordance with current restrictions, possibly (but not necessarily) on the same day as the on-line service is available. The advantage of doing a pre-record, rather than attempting a live-stream (which in any case is more nerve-wracking to do) is that the bereaved who are unable to attend the committal can be watching the funeral service at the exact time you are doing the committal, which might be a comfort to them.
- At the same time as you take the family’s instructions by phone or video call – preparing the funeral exactly as normal – you ascertain the time they wish the funeral service to be made public (or available privately to a guest list if they prefer and if the platform enables that). On YouTube that would mean making the playlist of that service ‘public’ for a set period.