The Countess of Wessex attended a special service at Westminster Abbey in honour of those who have died of the coronavirus on November 2nd, marking All Souls’ Day in a more poignant way this year.
This year’s service was arranged in partnership with Hope and LOSS, a coalition of churches from various religious denominations that support the bereaved.
“The ceremony has extra poignancy this year due to coronavirus,” said Rev Dr Sarah Archer, a project leader with Loss and Hope.
The coalition, which was founded earlier this year as the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave began, offers a course called The Bereavement Project which helps to guide people through grief and provides them with faith counselling and religious guidance as they navigate the loss of a loved one.
During the service, Sophie read from Romans 5, 5:11, “Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” She also lit a candle of remembrance for those who have died this year while the choir sang the offertory.
Westminster Abbey said that during the service, “Prayers were said for those who have died and those who mourn, a time when Covid-19 has dramatically increased the number of bereaved people across the UK.”
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, led the service and preached the sermon and readings were given by Matthew Arnoldi CVO and the Reverend David Stanton, Canon in Residence. Leading the intercessions was The Reverend Canon Yvonne Richmond Tulloch, who founded At a Loss.
All Souls’ Day is marked on 2 November in Catholic and other Christian denominations to honour and remember deceased loved ones.
Westminster Abbey plans to release portions of the All Souls’ Day service on their podcast later this week.