What Does My Faith Group Currently Advise?

The coronavirus pandemic is something which has affected all areas of society and individual life. FaithAction have a page dedicated to providing you with the most up to date advice about the pandemic, alongside specific advice for your faith group. You can visit this page by clicking here.

Sadly, one area of focus at the moment has to be how it has changed the way that funerals and burials are carried out in the UK. Here is a brief summary of the current recommendations for major faith groups:

Sikhism: Taken from City Sikhs

  • Some Gurdwaras have now decided not to allow the casket to come to the Gurdwara before going to the crematorium due to the risk of spreading.
  • Only immediate family should attend a funeral at the crematorium, limited to no more than 2 people who have not been in physical contact with the deceased for at least 14 days.
  • People over the age of 70, other vulnerable people and pregnant women should think carefully before going to a funeral.

Hinduism: Taken from Hindu Forum of Britain

  • Only small groups of family friends and between ages 20 and 50 can attend.
  • Bodies of the deceased cannot be brought home. Last rites should be performed at the crematorium and there should be no embalming or dressing of the deceased (if dressing does happen then care and protective gear to be worn).
  • Distribution of prayer/hymn sheets has been stopped, instead issue prayers and mantra can be recited over social media prior to a funeral.
  • All Vedic rituals after the death must be done with care and following government guidelines

Islam: Taken from BBSI and BIMA

  • Ghusl may be carried out if the adequate PPE is used: full sleeve plastic gown, gloves, fluid resistant surgical mask and visor. Proper training is required, as without proper training in putting on and removing PPE, the performer of ghusl puts themselves at risk of infection.
  • The body bag may be considered to fulfil the role of the burial shroud.
  • Funeral prayers should be performed by a minimum of people; alternatives include the absentee funeral prayer. Attendance at funerals should be within recommended guidance from government.
  • Cremation must be avoided at all costs.

Judaism: Taken from United Synagogue

  • Funerals are limited to immediate family only. A minyan is not required, funerals can be live streamed. All funerals to be held outside and mourners to stand apart.
  • Mourners must sit shiva in their own homes – no shiva visits can take place.
  • All stone setting ceremonies are postponed.
  • Where possible, with the facilitation of a family member or friend, end-of-life prayers should be said over the phone with the Rabbi.

Church of England: Taken from Church of England

  • Funerals now consist of a short service at the crematorium, with or without a very small congregation, which may only include spouse/partner, parents, and children of the deceased, or a short service at the graveside, under the same conditions.
  • Social distancing measures should be observed for those attending the funeral in person.
  • No wake or gathering should be held.

Roman Catholicism: Taken from Diocese of Leeds 

  • The funeral service should take place at the graveside or at a crematorium, subject to the conditions laid down by the cemetery or crematorium authorities.
  • Funeral services at the cemetery or crematorium should not be conducted by priests or deacons over 70 years of age or whose underlying health conditions make them more vulnerable to the risks of contracting Covid-19
  • Arrangements should be made for a Mass to be celebrated in memoriam at a time in due course when congregations are allowed to gather.

Other links:

PHE Covid Guidance for Care of the Deceased



About Jenny Hadgraft

Project Assistant

Before having three daughters, Jenny worked for a health insurance company. Full time mum until 2013, she went back to college and completed a degree in English Language and Communication. Afterwards, she began volunteering with the National Autistic Society, which lead to a temporary position within the Care and Support Alliance as a policy and campaigns assistant. Finally, she joined the administration team here at FaithAction as she wanted to be involved in an organisation that is focused on providing solutions for local people. Jenny provides the secretariat for one of FaithAction’s projects THIFF, the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum. Jenny also supports our work with the Department of Health. In her spare time, Jenny loves spending time with family, reading and exercising.