Requiem for 2020
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenge and change to life and to our world. Alongside the threat to personal and community health, and the significant challenges faced by health systems and frontline workers, many have been deprived of the rituals that normally accompany grief and loss.
Now a year into the pandemic, opportunities are arising to acknowledge the personal and communal impact of such disruption to life, and the experience of isolation, anxiety, and insecurity.
The community of Unley Uniting Church, South Australia, will be holding a ‘Requiem for 2020’ at the end of March – a service providing space to acknowledge losses experienced over the course of the pandemic that could not be properly grieved.
Minister Rev Alison Whish says the idea came about in response to pastoral conversations in which she learned that being isolated from their communities at key moments of life and death had left people feeling unsettled. For many, grief has also been a response to the loss of normal life.
“I had become aware that during last year, many people had experienced griefs of all sorts, often multiple griefs. There had been those who had been unable to go to aged care and say farewell to their elders when they were dying, those whose economic world was dislocated by their losing work, even just not being able to celebrate a significant birthday with the family and friends that you might have wanted around you.”
“Our worship life was disrupted and many of us have felt isolated and without support. So many of our people are older, often living alone, and it has been hard. People have been frightened both for themselves and for the future. It seemed appropriate that as the Christian church we could respond.”
Rev Whish says the service will use music and quiet space, with some ritual actions, to offer those who come, time to honour those memories and then having remembered, “regroup to claim the hope that 2021 is already offering us.”
The community of Unley Uniting Church will gather on Friday 26th March at 7pm at 187 Unley Rd, Unley, 5061.
The World Council of Churches has launched a week of prayer and reflection from 22-27 March to mark one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources are available to participate each day.
Are you doing something to intentionally acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 in your community? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org