Bridgend County Borough Council in southern Wales has reversed its decision to ban mourners from corporately reciting the Lord’s Prayer during funeral services.
Last week during the funeral of a 94-year-old grandmother, the family was told that they were breaking the Welsh government’s coronavirus guidelines by ending the service with the prayer, despite wearing masks and social distancing.
“To be honest, I was quite flabbergasted,” said Alison Davies, the minister who presided over the funeral.
Following the incident, a Bridgend Council spokesperson said the council “believed prayer to constitute chanting,” which is prohibited under the Welsh government’s coronavirus legislation.
“What is the world coming to when families grieving loved ones cannot say the Lord’s Prayer…?” Davies asked.
“The rules and guidelines are affecting families who are grieving as they are not allowed to sing hymns,” she added. “They cannot go near the coffin once it is inside the chapel, and now they cannot not even say a prayer together.”
After local media reported on the incident, the Welsh government clarified that praying in a “low tone” does not breach the rules.
“While chanting is restricted in funerals, speaking in a low tone to pray would not be considered against the guidance,” a government spokeswoman said.
The government also called on venues to “use common sense” when applying the law.
Bridgend Council has since apologized for upsetting the family but insists council members were just following government rules.
“We appreciate the Lord’s Prayer is of great comfort to many of those attending services,” said Richard Young, the council’s cabinet member for communities. “While we are sorry if our actions caused any upset, it is important to note that we were previously not aware that these regulations were open to interpretation, and were very surprised to see the Welsh government’s media response contradicting this approach.
“We very much welcome the additional clarity, which now permits a number of people to pray out loud at the same time,” he added.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Davies, said: “There is no ban on saying prayers together at a low volume, as the Welsh government has made clear.
“Those with responsibilities for churches, crematoriums and chapels need to know what the law really says and apply it with common sense and compassion,” she explained. “Unnecessary interventions and confrontations like this hurt the grieving process and cannot be undone. Our attempts to fight the coronavirus must not come at the expense of our humanity.”
HD Editors Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) was meant to be a guide to Christians on how to pray (Matthew 6:9); Jesus said, “After this manner therefore pray ye.” Although often misunderstood, it was not provided to be simply recited. Jesus in-fact underscored this two verses prior to that prayer, saying to Christians, “use not vain repetitions” when you pray.
That being said, the news story above is Biblically relevant because it directly deals with the fight for religious freedom and the specific targeting of the Church during the “coronavirus pandemic.”
The Bible says that in the last days, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Throughout the world, we are witnessing this persecution and the criminalization of Biblical Values, and it has only increased under the guise of safety from COVID.