Supporting the bereaved at this time

First published on: 22nd November 2021

Christmas is one of the hardest times for bereaved people and this year will be worse than ever.  The need for supporting bereavement this Christmas and during 2022 is huge.

Two people comfort each other. One appears to be crying while the other holds their hand

Church of England research earlier this year showed that:

  1. 6 in 10 people had been bereaved since March 2020 with 1 in 4 having experienced more than one death
  2. 8 in 10 agreed that more support was needed
  3. Over 90% wanted churches to offer a place for people to light a candle and to remember loved ones
  4. Over 90% wanted churches to offer a place to talk or a listening ear.

There is considerable demand from the public for churches to offer bereavement support., of which the Archbishop of Canterbury is a patron, provides a UK-wide website hub of bereavement support and information for anyone bereaved and those seeking to support them.  

They have a wide range of materials available to help clergy and churches support people who are bereaved and lonely at this time. Here are some ideas of how you can use their materials

1. Direct bereaved congregation members and people in their communities to support.

An easy way to do this could be to advertise the website on your church website, in church foyers (posters are available), at funerals (cards are available), and the charity recommend, this year especially, mentioning it at Christmas services or on carol service sheets. See

2. Access their dedicated training and information for clergy

Loss and HOPE is a project working with the Church of England Life Events Department, Care for the Family and HOPE Together, to equip churches in bereavement support.  A dedicated website provides resources, training and information for clergy and any Christian wanting to know how to effectively support bereaved people.  This includes information on holding an alternative Christmas service  – Remembering at Christmas menu – and regular webinars (Bereavement Friendly Church), are on offer for leaders to consider how to improve their church’s accessibility to those who have been bereaved.  See

3. Consider offering 'The Bereavement Journey' course

A 6-session series of films and discussion groups (including an optional session on faith), this course has been designed to be an effective resource for supporting all bereaved people in the community, particularly in this period of pandemic recovery. The course includes a step-by-step guide, promotional materials and team support, making it easy for any church to run online or face to face.  This might be something to offer bereaved people in the communities after Christmas.  See and

For more information please visit:

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