A Tayside church is to begin offering online memorial services while public funerals are banned during the coronavirus outbreak.
Rev Dr Marjory MacLean, who covers the parishes of Abernyte, Inchture, Kinnaird and Longforgan, hopes this will help people to pay their respects from the safety of their home.
The services will be recorded by Rev MacLean alone in her church after speaking to the bereaved family, and will then be posted online the same day as the committal service.
She said: “Often a funeral in our tradition consists of what is essentially a memorial service and a separate very short committal service, often attended only by the family.
“While committal services are very constrained at the moment, this idea allows the memorial service to be attended by anyone.”
Currently, the Church of Scotland has decreed no funeral services can take place in church buildings during the global pandemic, and attendance at services held elsewhere are limited to immediate close family, such as parents, spouses and adult children only.
Dr MacLean said plans are already in hand for the first pre-recorded online memorial service.
She continued: “If we can do Sunday services using social media platforms like YouTube, then why not memorial services in place of traditional funerals?
“From the family’s point of view, the usual conversation takes place with the minister by phone or video conference to plan the service and given directions about the tribute and so on.
“A period of time, perhaps a few hours, is agreed upon as the time the service will be publicly available on our YouTube channel.
“The family send that information and the link to anyone they know would have attended the funeral.
“It could be followed up by something like a scheduled Zoom call for the whole family to share their memories and even each raise a glass to the person whose life has been celebrated in this way.
“I would commend this idea of online memorial services at this difficult and testing time.”