Holy Week & Easter

Easter 2020

 Dear Friends

The story of Holy Week is a story of a roller coaster of mixed emotions. Everything from the ecstatic joy of the crowd on Palm Sunday to the confusion of many as the week progresses. Various players in the story want Jesus and then don’t want him. They are filled with anticipation and also with disappointment. They are angry and numbed with sadness. Individuals in the story are disappointed at their own words and filled with an overwhelming sense of being let down. 

There are moments of deep devotion and also the most terrible scenes of pain and grief. Jesus himself is caught up in this whirlwind of emotions, feeling a sense of isolation and abandonment finding himself praying alone in darkness of Gethsemane, whilst his friends sleep off the Passover celebrations.

Behind everything that happens however is a God who is doing something extraordinary. Who understands every reaction in the story because that God is living them in Jesus.

We too continue to face a whirlwind of emotions. Confusion, hope, anger, despair, anticipation, frustration, deep sadness, uncertainty as the effects of lockdown, isolation and social distancing takes it toll.

As the joy of Easter dawns, we are again reminded that God is also there for us, helping us through and encouraging us to be there for one another. For he is the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac, the God of Ruth, Mary, Peter and John but also the God of the Colin’s, Sheila’s and us today.

Centuries before the time of Jesus, the Psalmist recognised that we are never alone when he wrote: ‘When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you’. (Psalm 56:3) May we this Easter put our trust in the in the risen Lord.

May God give you health, strength and peace this Easter.

David.

………………..

Please continue to pray for the circuit staff team, the staff of The Methodist Centre as they continue to reach out to the vulnerable and all in our communities who are supporting others at this time.

.………………….

Loving God, in Jesus Christ,

who died and rose again for our salvation,

cast out the darkness of our anxiety,

fear and mourning,

enfold us in your love

and give us joy and hope this Easter. Amen.

………………..

To view this as a video please click HERE

An Easter Message from the President & Vice President of the Methodist Church can by viewed: HERE

Stations of the Cross video: HERE

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EASTER WORSHIP IDEAS

Suggestions for Easter worship opportunities and how to help others in worship can be found here, including service sheets to be printed at home. For those Methodists feeling the loss of communion, a short act of spiritual communion is now available. Full details of resources for Easter are available here.

A selection of streamed Methodist services are taking place during Easter. The list of services, produced using current guidelines, can be found here.

The Evangelism and Growth Team has launched a new social media campaign:  #loveyourself #loveyourneighbour. The campaign will engage with the many well-being conversations that have recently sprung up. More information and all the graphics, as well as a link to give us your ideas and stories, are available here.

A fifteen minute reflection from the team at Methodist Central Hall Westminster is to be broadcast across all 39 BBC local radio stations at 3pm on Good Friday. The reflection has been produced following current guidelines. You can find your local BBC station here.

This Sunday, the virtual church choir organised by the National Methodist Choir of Great Britain will be performing a special online event on Easter Day, at 4pm to launch All We Can’s Emergency Coronavirus Appeal. You can watch the ‘Easter Sunday Singalong’  on Facebook and Youtube channels.

The Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, together with Church leaders from denominations across Britain and Ireland, have issued a statement in response to the ongoing crisis.

Guide for those bereaved & Funerals Resources.

(New Posts are in Blue)

Introduction

The loss of a loved one or a close friend at any time is hard. During the current crisis this is heighten with restrictions that the government has placed with Social Isolation & Distancing and limiting the numbers who can attend any crematorium or  graveside to 10 close family members. – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping social distancing in the prescribed way.  Those over the age of 70 and those with an underlying health condition should not attend any funeral in the present circumstances , make it very difficult for all concerned. 

The Circuit staff are waiving funeral fees during this period, unless a Funeral plan with Minsters fees is in place. Because of the large number of funerals that are expected, we are sharing these amongst the staff team. 

We are offering to hold services of thanksgiving or memorial services in our churches later in the year.

Bereavement at any time is hard. Bereavement during a period of isolation with restricted movement and limited contact with family and friends is the hardest thing possible. 

COVID-19 CRISIS –  COUNSELLING SUPPORT SERVICE

The Association of Christian Counsellors Support service is offering up to 10 sessions for anyone who has suffered a bereavement during the crisis, whether or not this is because of Covid-19. Support is offered from qualified counsellors who are drawn from a number of professional backgrounds and are offering this service by phone or conference call.

For more information Click: HERE

 

Loss and Hope has shared this short video’s with immediate guidance for anyone who is supporting someone who is recently bereaved.  

Watch our short video on the different phases of grief to get a better understanding of what bereavement can look like.

Ideas for When a funeral isn’t possible

Coping with Bereavement

Grief and isolation

Coronavirus: grief and trauma

Prayers at the time of death

How to grieve when you can’t say goodbye:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52142660

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Bereavement and other resources within a school community. Click HEREHERE

School bereavement Policy Click: HERE

Prayers with the Dying

Spoken prayers (video) for those who are about to die Click HERE

Written Copy of the above Click: HERE

We offer a simple service for those who cannot attend a funeral – HERE

Funeral Resources provided by the URC Click: HERE

 

FUNERAL INFORMATION

Funerals can, and will continue in the name of the Methodist Church as part of our pastoral response to the coronavirus crisis. However, Methodist Church buildings can not be used for funerals at this time.  Simple graveside/ crematorium services are only offered at this time.

We acknowledge that the changes will be very difficult but are being made to protect everyone. 

  • • Care should be taken by those leading funeral services, including using hand-gel and/or hand washing before & after the service and social distancing.
  • • General government guidance means that no bereaved person (or officiant, obviously) can attend a funeral if they themselves are unwell. Likewise, if the cause of death is Covid-19, any of the bereaved who were in contact with the deceased, either before or after death, in the seven days prior to the funeral, should not attend. In these two, incredibly painful instances, ministers and churches will have to think carefully about how to offer pastoral support.
  • • The minister or trained local person under the direction of the Superintendent should make the arrangements with the family by remote media (telephone, skype, Zoom etc)
  • • The number of people attending a funeral should be kept to a minimum, immediate family members only – with those in attendance observing suitable social distancing as per the government’s advice.  Local Crematoria guidance currently is 10 family members only.
  • • Those over the age of 70 and those with an underlying health condition should not attend in the present circumstances.
  • • Families attending must travel in their own cars, including the celebrant.
  • • The service may be broadcast via social media or recorded to be shared later. The minister should explain to people what is happening (especially those not physically present) webcast facilities are available at Westerleigh Group Crematoriums. (£30 per service)
  • • The service should include prayers and a message of Christian hope
  • • Do not use communal hymn books or service books, organist may not be available.
  • • People should avoid social contact, such as hugging or touching the coffin.
  • • Mourners or Pall bearers will not be allowed to carry the coffin.
  • • Ashes cannot be returned to family members until the crises is over, therefore scattering and internment of Ashes need to be postponed—this could be the opportunity for a future memorial service.
  • • There should be no social gathering such as a wake.
  • • Tributes can then be given in other ways for larger numbers of people to read – either online, or in a church newsletter – or given in a memorial service later in the year.
  • • currently Burials can still take place, but are to be reviewed over the coming weeks.

Local councils have guidance around what is possible or permissible in crematoria and cemeteries.

Ministers or other Local Preachers/worship leaders who are vulnerable – either because they are over 70, or because of health issues – should stand down from public duty. Much can be done from home, by phone and online. As a Church, we ask those who care for us to care for themselves too, especially when life could be at risk.

Changes to registering a Death.

Following a death, it is still necessary for the death to be registered by the Registar of Births, deaths and marriages in the district where someone dies. This is the formal record of the death and unless the coroner is involved, must be done either within 5 days, or a further 9 days, if the registrar has been notified that a medical certificate has been issued. Before the COVID-19 crisis, only certain people could register a death and had to attend before the registrar in person.

The Coronavirus Act has however expanded the list of people who can now register a death, and this includes funeral directors who are helping the family with the arrangements. Information and documents are still needed to be produced to the registrar, such as the medical certificate of death (which can now be sent electronically) and details of the birth, occupation, place of death and last address of the person who has died which can be given by telephone. The new rules also dispense with the signing of the register.

Bristol 

Bristol are only registering deaths or still births by phone. To register a death or still birth, call 0117 9222800. 

They will take your contact details, and a registrar will call you to register the death or still birth as soon as they’re available. You’ll be able to ask questions when they call. They’ll ask if you want to use government’s Tell Us Once service on GOV.UK. 

You will need the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) to register a death. The hospital or GP can send the MCCD to us. If you have the MCCD, take a photo of it and send it to us by email, we’ll tell you how when you call us. 

After you’ve registered the death, They will send you any death certificate that you have ordered and paid for, by post. 

These adjustments will at least give some assistance to families having to register a death and enable them to make arrangements for the person who has died with sensitivity and with dignity.

South Gloucestershire 

Register offices at Kingswood Civic Centre and at Yate One Stop Shop (Yate Shopping Centre) are only open for the registration of deaths. Due to the current situation only one relative or informant may attend the appointment. Payment for certificates should be made by debit or credit card, cash or cheque cannot currently be accepted.