All Souls' Day goes digital as mourners light virtual candles with QR codes

Gabriella Swerling
·2-min read
The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell (C), the 98th Archbishop of York, is enthroned at a ceremony during a service of evensong - LINDSEY PARNABY /AFP
The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell (C), the 98th Archbishop of York, is enthroned at a ceremony during a service of evensong - LINDSEY PARNABY /AFP
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All Souls’ Day will go digital for the first time after the Church of England announced plans for mourners to light virtual candles with QR codes. 

Churches and cathedrals across the country are preparing to remember the dead as the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic continues, with the Government having imposed restrictions on gatherings

All Souls' Day, on Monday November 2, is also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and the Day of the Dead. It marks a day of prayer and remembrance for those who have died and is observed by some Christian denominations.

However this year, church officials are hoping to reach tens of thousands of people coping with bereavement during the pandemic with a message of comfort and hope with the help of technology. 

The Church of England is providing parishes with posters allowing people to access prayers and light a virtual candle using QR codes to remember someone who has died. The A4 posters include QR codes that link to relevant prayers on the Church of England website, along with space for people to fill in their own thoughts.

The posters contain two QR codes beneath the options "light a virtual candle" and "prayers to remember our loved ones" to give people the opportunity to access church materials from their phone. 

Prayer walks, outdoor candlelit services, flower planting and light displays are also among the socially-distanced events planned to take place from this weekend.

Rev Canon Dr Sandra Millar, who leads the Church of England's work on baptisms, weddings and funerals, said: "Whether we have been bereaved this year or long ago, it can be very helpful to have a special moment when we remember all those who have shaped our lives and whom we see no longer.

"This year, churches are creatively giving people opportunities to take that moment, whether physically, digitally or in the quiet of their homes. 

"For some this will be immensely important if they didn't get to a funeral this year; for others, it will be a chance to remember once again those who were special. Bereavement isn't a short process, and the church is always there, wherever they go and for however long it is needed."

A service of thanksgiving, hope and remembrance from St Paul's Cathedral, led by the Bishop of London, will be broadcast for the weekly online service of the Church of England on Sunday.