Bradford Council COVID-19 Update

Faith leaders to attend cremations


Faith leaders and Bradford Council have worked out a plan to provide some peace and comfort to those people unable to say goodbye to their loved ones because of the medial emergency.

Because of the risks of spreading Coronavirus (Covid-19), funeral services at Bradford Crematoria have been suspended.

This exceptional measure to protect the public, funeral directors and bereavement services staff, is in line with other local authorities and the advice given by the medial authorities.

Following the announcement of unattended cremations, faith groups and the Council have reached an agreement to have a faith officiant present at the crematorium to undertake the committal of the body according to the appropriate religious rites.

A duty rota is being put in place to ensure that funeral directors will always be able to find an available officiant at the local authority’s three crematoria while they are operating.

The officiant, including those from the Hindu and Sikh communities, will provide the suitable religious prayers before the body is taken for cremation.

Grieving families should continue to liaise with their nominated funeral director and local clergy but if they are not able to perform the ceremony it can be passed on by funeral directors to a duty member through a central telephone number and e-mail address.

Celebrants representing those with no faith will also be allowed to carry out a non-religious committal if desired by the family but in all cases no mourners can be present.

The Archdeacon of Bradford, The Ven Dr Andy Jolley, said: “In these exceptional times the Church of England is giving all possible support across the Bradford district, whilst heeding Government advice to protect communities and the NHS from Covid-19.

“We are acutely aware of the increasing number of deaths in the current crisis and are keen to continue to offer both pastoral support to those who are bereaved and also the most appropriate way possible of ensuring there is a fitting committal for those who have died.”

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “We know the decision to suspend funerals at cremations will have caused enormous distress to many grieving people and we took the agonising decision extremely reluctantly, but it is a policy that will ultimately save lives.

“We hope the new arrangements to have a faith officiant or celebrant at funerals will offer people at least some comfort that their loved ones will be given the funeral rites appropriate to their religion, although they can’t be there with them.”

Graveside burial services are still permissible at Bradford cemeteries as long as people follow the rules which limit the number of  mourners to 10 people, who must at all times observe official social distancing guidelines.



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