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Council reprimands funeral service leader over Lord's Prayer recital

by Will Maule

A minister who was leading a funeral service said she was left "flabbergasted" after being accused of breaking Covid-19 restrictions by encouraging mourners to recite the Lord's Prayer. 

Alison Davies said that after concluding the prayer at Bridgend's Coychurch Crematorium, she was approached by an official who told her, in front of mourners, that she had broken the Welsh Government Covid rules on chanting. 

"To be honest, I was quite flabbergasted," Davies said. "There was no way we were chanting or shouting, the congregation were mumbling the Lord's Prayer really. So I was quite upset to find that I'd done something wrong because I've been trying to follow the rules."

Davies added that those in attendance were "all socially distanced and wearing masks" during the recital, but that this didn't stop the official from telling her off. 

"The chapel superintendent wagged her finger at me and said ''you can't do that,'" Davies said. 

Bridgend council has apologised any hurt caused by the incident but insisted that it was attempting to ensure rules which allow only one person to speak at a time.

A council spokesman said: "We appreciate the Lord's Prayer is of great comfort to many of those attending services and we are sorry if our actions caused any upset,

"We ensured at no point was the service interrupted, only gently informing the member of clergy as they left the chapel that next time, the Lord's Prayer can only be read out by one individual."

The spokesperson said they "believed prayer to constitute chanting" under the guidelines. 

The Welsh Government urged people to "use common sense" when applying the law, with a spokesperson adding that "while chanting is restricted in funerals, speaking in a low tone to pray would not be considered against the guidance"

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