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Graveyard Credit Pexels from Pixabay header2.jpg
Graveyard Credit Pexels from Pixabay.jpg
Church News

Graveyards in Northern Ireland to reopen, with approval from largest Protestant church

by Cara Bentley

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has welcomed a decision today to reopen Northern Ireland's burial grounds

Cemeteries were closed in March when lockdown measures started to come in to deal with coronavirus.

However, the Executive in Northern Ireland overturned the legislation, which had been written by the Department of Health.

The moderator for the Presbyterian Church, which has just over 210,000 members, Rt Rev Dr William Henry, said, "Yesterday, along with my fellow Church Leaders, I had a productive video conference call with the First Minister, deputy First Minister and both Junior Ministers, during which this important pastoral issue was discussed. I welcome today's announcement that the Executive will reopen Northern Ireland's burial grounds.

"This is a sensible and compassionate response to an important pastoral and human need, especially when not everyone who mourns a loved one has been able to attend their funeral as a result of current government restrictions. Visiting afterwards, therefore, may be the first occasion they are able to make a personal response at a time of bereavement. Opening graveyards makes this possible."

He added that the decision will bring much comfort to many and that access must be done in a way that ensures appropriate social distancing.

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