30 January 2014
Planning your own funeral and how we would like to be remembered
are just two of the topics being discussed in 'GraveTalk',
conversations being run by the Church of England to provide people
with the opportunity to talk about funerals and death.
The café-style gatherings in churches are part of an ongoing Church
of England research project into funerals. Funded by the
Archbishops' Council, the project takes a look at a range of
emerging questions about death - a topic that research shows people
often shy away from discussing.
Under the working title 'GraveTalk', the events will be run by
(30) parishes within the Diocese of Lichfield, (covering areas in
the North West Midlands), until the end of February. Small
teams from each parish are inviting local people to come to a
café-style event, which has an informal format including light
refreshments and small group discussion. Events are open to people
of all faiths and none.
Leading the initiative is the Archbishops' Council Head of
Projects the Revd Dr Sandra Millar, who said: "Helping people
to plan a funeral, supporting those who are grieving, and
being there for those who simply have many questions about the
reality of death, are some of the of the most fundamental things
that the Church of England does, and has done for hundreds of
years. By offering an informal and supportive environment in which
to discuss all kinds of themes around mortality, we hope to provide
a helpful space to talk, share and plan. At the same time, we may
learn more about how to support those in need at some of the most
difficult times in their life."
Revd David Primrose, Director of Transforming Communities for
Lichfield Diocese, said: "As a parish priest I know the importance
of providing safe spaces where people can talk about issues such as
death and dying away from the pressures of commercial interests or
the drama of popular entertainment. Churches are well-placed to
host open conversations for people to explore the deeper questions
of life and death. I am delighted that parishes in the Diocese of
Lichfield are involved in piloting GraveTalk, and I am confident
that in the coming years, many more churches will use this way to
enable people in their community to talk freely about death, dying
and funerals with sensitivity, understanding and confidence."
If GraveTalk proves to be successful in the trial, more churches
could adopt the format to run it locally.