On Saturday the cathedral held a Saying Goodbye service for ‘anyone of any faith or no faith’ who had suffered loss during pregnancy, birth or infancy.
It was one of a series of such services to be held in the UK during 2013.
As the Saying Goodbye website points out: such funerals ‘are usually conducted while parents are in a fog of grief and pain’ and with ‘commemorative services seldom taking place’. The service was very thoughtfully organised and conducted, with some beautiful and appropriate music from the organ and choir. Parts of the service were very emotional. I am sure it succeeded in giving many families an opportunity for thanksgiving.
There was a good-sized congregation, ranging from babes-in-arms to quite elderly, and with a large proportion of youngish couples.
How were so many people informed about the service? I just happened to see the headline in the Observer two days previously. The Chichester Cathedral newsletter just had ‘Saying Goodbye service’ with no explanation.
I wonder why people of ‘other’ faiths were invited when no provision was made for them, and am concerned that they might not have been helped by the service. Surely a Muslim or Hindu prayer or reading could have been included within the ‘Anglican format’? I feel a great opportunity was lost.