Mourners were stopped from praying during funeral service and scolded after saying the Lord’s Prayer.
The incident happened at Coychurch Crematorium in Bridgend, UK, where family and friends attended the funeral service of a 94-year-old woman.
As the mourners followed the minister’s lead by saying the Lord’s Prayer, an official of the council-run crematorium allegedly stopped them and reprimanded them for breaking the rules.
Despite the heartbreaking situation, the official insisted that multiple people praying at once counts as ‘chanting’, a practice banned amid the pandemic because it could allegedly contribute to the spread of coronavirus.
According to 53-year-old minister Alison Davies, she was shocked after the mourners were scolded for attempting to say the prayer.
“When I started reciting it, mourners stood up and joined in. The family were only mumbling it quietly and were all socially distanced and wearing masks,” Davies recalled.
“But the chapel superintendent wagged her finger at me and said ‘you can’t do that’.”
As the minister added, she was left “upset” and stunned after being told off and accused of breaking the law.
“To be honest, I was quite flabbergasted. There was no way we were chanting or shouting, the congregation were mumbling the Lord’s Prayer really,” she added.
“They were socially distanced and wearing masks. So I was quite upset to find that I’d done something wrong because I’ve been trying to follow the rules.”
Following the funeral service, the local council has apologized for upsetting the family but insisted that the crematorium staff just followed the rules.
“We ensured at no point was the service interrupted, only gently informing the member of clergy as they left the chapel that next time, the Lord’s Prayer can only be read out by one individual,” a spokesperson for Bridgend Council said.
Speaking of the government rule against chanting, the Welsh Government confirmed that “chanting is restricted in funerals.” However, they also pointed out that “speaking in a low tone would not be considered against the guidance.”
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