Council BANS mourners' Lord's Prayer as 'chanting' breaks Covid rules

Council jobsworths BAN funeral mourners from saying the Lord’s Prayer claiming it is ‘chanting’ that breaks Government Covid rules

  • Minister Alison Davies, 53, was left in tears after she and mourners were told off 
  • Heads of council-run Coychurch Crematorium, in Bridgend, didn’t allow praying
  • But Welsh Government says praying in a low tone doesn’t break any Covid rules 

Grieving funeral-goers were banned from praying at a service because they were told it could spread coronavirus. 

Minister Alison Davies, 53, was left in tears after she and the mourners were told off for praying at the funeral of a 94-year-old woman. 

The heads of council-run Coychurch Crematorium, in Bridgend, South Wales, claimed that if more than one person prayed then it counted as ‘chanting’ and wasn’t allowed. 

Minister Davies was ‘flabbergasted’ when the over-zealous council official told her she had breached the rules.

Mourners were finishing saying: ‘… the power and the glory, forever. Amen’ when the crematorium official stepped up to the lectern to tell them off. 

Minister Davies said: ‘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.

Alison Davies, 53 (pictured right) with her husband Gwyn, 65, (pictured left) were shocked to be told off for breaking Government Covid guidelines after saying the Lord’s Prayer in unison at a funeral in Bridgend, South Wales

The Welsh government have released guidance for mourners on how to stay safe during funerals. 

As funeraly typically involve a crowd of people, the gathering is considered risky as it could spread coronavirus. 

The Welsh government has introduced temporary limits on the number of people attending funerals and cremations.

Bridgend County Borough Council says a maximum of 20 close family members can attend a funeral service.

Mourners should also wear masks and adhere to social distancing.   

Guidance from the Welsh Government also sets out the rules on singing. 

As Covid can be tramsitted through droplets in the air, singing is restricted to prevent the virus spreading.   

The Welsh Government website states: ‘We recognise the importance of music and singing in worship, religious and belief ceremonies. 

‘However, activities such as singing, chanting, shouting should be specifically avoided. 

‘This is because there is a possible additional risk of infection in environments where individuals are singing or chanting as a group, and this applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.’

The Welsh Government added praying in a ‘low tone’ does not breach the rules and it called on venues to ‘use common sense’ when applying the law. 

‘But the chapel superintendent wagged her finger at me and said ”you can’t do that”.’

The family of the 94-year-old grandmother requested the Lord’s Prayer at the end of the funeral service – and were ‘upset’ at the celebrant being told off over their prayer. 

She added that it was ‘ridiculous’ to ban the Lord’s Prayer when grieving loved ones are saying goodbye to someone.  

‘To be honest, I was quite flabbergasted,’ she said.

‘There was no way we were chanting or shouting, the congregation were mumbling the Lord’s Prayer really. 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.’

Mrs Davies said grieving families had already been deprived of ‘so much’ and the Lord’s Prayer ban was ‘the final straw’.

Her husband Gwyn said: ‘It was a real jobsworth official who came up to her as she was standing on the lectern with the family standing there in front of her.

‘He waved his blue-gloved finger and told her it was breaking the rules. Why couldn’t he just wait and tell her later. 

‘It is ridiculous and a complete misinterpretation of the rules.

‘What is the world coming to when a family cannot quietly say the Lord’s Prayers at a funeral service if that is their wish.’

Bridgend council has since apologised for causing any upset but insisted bosses were just following rules which state that only one person can speak at a time. 

However, the Welsh Government has said that praying in a ‘low tone’ doesn’t breach these rules. 

A Bridgend Council spokesman said it ‘believed prayer to constitute chanting’ under the Welsh Government’s coronavirus legislation.

‘We appreciate the Lord’s Prayer is of great comfort to many of those attending services and we are sorry if our actions caused any upset,’ he said.

Minister Alison Davies, 53, was left in tears after she and the mourners were told off for praying at the funeral of a 94-year-old woman at Coychurch Crematorium, in Bridgend, South Wales (pictured: crematorium’s exterior)

An official at Coychurch Crematorium in Bridgend (interior pictured above) waited until Ms Davies had reached the last words of the prayer when they approached and told her, in front of mourners, she was breaking government guidelines

‘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.’

The Welsh Government said praying in a ‘low tone’ does not breach the rules and it called on venues to ‘use common sense’ when applying the law.

‘While chanting is restricted in funerals, speaking in a low tone to pray would not be considered against the guidance,’ a Government spokeswoman said.

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