Fife minister’s ‘heartbreak’ over funerals

While Wellesley Parish Church is closed, Rev Gillian Paterson is using social media to keep in contact.While Wellesley Parish Church is closed, Rev Gillian Paterson is using social media to keep in contact.
While Wellesley Parish Church is closed, Rev Gillian Paterson is using social media to keep in contact. | GEORGE Mcluskie 37 BOW STREET BUCKHAVEN FIFE KY8 1JB 01592 716192 Mob 07831 488561
“The pain at the moment is like nothing I have experienced before.”

That is the view of Wellesley Parish Church minister Gillian Paterson, who has spoken of the “heartbreak” of dealing with families who have lost loved ones but are not able to pay their final respects.

Strict measures that have been introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic mean that just six immediate family members are allowed to attend funerals, meaning many are not able to say a final goodbye, including those who are in self-isolation.

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“Arranging funerals has to be done by email or phone,” Rev Paterson explained.

“I find that hard. You pick up so much more about the person when you are in a room with someone. We’re having to do it differently now.

“This is the hardest part. People can’t gather to pay their respects to the people they loved. I feel for people as it’s really difficult.

“The pain at the moment is like nothing I’ve know before. It’s heartbreaking. I hope, as a church, we can support people as much as we can.”

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Ms Paterson has offered to do memorial services for those who have died at a later date. People have also been taking advantage of technology, with one funeral goer filming the service to share with their family and friends who were not able to attend.

The church has also been making the most of various social media sites to keep in contact with people.

Ms Paterson has been chatting with people via email and on social media, and has been uploading videos trying to share a positive message.

The hits on the Facebook page has quadrupled over the last month.

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As well as posting videos on social media, Ms Paterson hosted a bible study group online last week and used social media to chat to someone in hospital. The church has also been mailing out information and worship material each week for those who do not have access to the web.

“It’s important to make sure that people do not feel isolated,” Ms Paterson said.

“I had never done videos before. It’s been a big learning curve, but they’ve been taken well. I’m never going to be a TV presenter, but if it helps people then I’m happy to do it.

“I find that when I put up comments, to keep smiling and be positive, people are looking for that. The news is full of negativity, so positivity gets a huge reaction.”

To receive an email with worship material, visit the Wellesley Parish Church Facebook page.

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