Cathedrals in U.K. to hold memorial services for infants

August 24, 2012

GENEVA

Cathedrals in England, Wales and Scotland are planning to hold remembrance services in the fall for people who have suffered miscarriage, early term loss or early infant loss.

The Saying Goodbye services, at such cathedrals as Llandaff in Cardiff, St. Mary’s Episcopal in Edinburgh and St. Paul’s in London, will provide an opportunity for people to join with others who have experienced a loss, according to a news release from the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS).

The services are being organized free of charge by CCEM, an international event management company owned by Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates.

“We want to provide a place and time for people to come together to acknowledge their loss and offer an opportunity to say a collective goodbye,” said Zoe Clark-Coates. “My husband and I have lost five babies ourselves. We want the Saying Goodbye services to help other couples to say a wonderful goodbye to their children, as every life deserves to be recognized.”

In the U.K., the life of a baby who dies before 24 weeks gestation is not recorded with a certificate which leaves the parent with no official recognition of the baby’s life, ACNS reported.

“We want to say our children did exist,” said Zoe Clark-Coates. “They may only have been on this earth for days, weeks or months, but they were truly loved, and will always be missed.”

The Saying Goodbye website says that approximately one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage and states that “many people who experience miscarriage are left reeling with little sense of how to commemorate a baby who once held all the promise of a life to be ived.”

Each of the services are planning to have a symbolic act such as the lighting of a candle or the placing of a butterfly on a wall of remembrance, ACNS said. There will be a short message of hope by senior clergy and stories from people who have suffered loss. Though there is no formal counseling provided at the services, a number of national and local counseling and support services will be represented, or will have their information present.

Services are to be held at Exeter cathedral, Exeter, Sept. 15; St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 22; York Minster, York, Sept. 29; Birmingham Cathedral, Birmingham, Oct. 28; Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff, Wales, Nov. 3; St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Nov. 24; Bristol Cathedral, Bristol, Dec. 8.

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