Portsmouth Cathedral hosts national launch of death discussion

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Talking about death is not easy for many.

But with the national launch of an innovative project to get people doing just that, the Church of England is looking to change that.

CHAT Canon Dr Sandra Millar, left, head of projects and development for the Church of England, with the Rev Belinda Davies, vicar of St George's Church, Portsea

CHAT Canon Dr Sandra Millar, left, head of projects and development for the Church of England, with the Rev Belinda Davies, vicar of St George's Church, Portsea

Portsmouth cathedral was chosen for the launch of ‘GraveTalk’ due to the Portsmouth diocese playing a key role in shaping the idea.

The Rev Belinda Davies, vicar of St George’s Church, Portsea, is the author of a pack of GraveTalk questions which are used within the scheme to give people the chance to discuss death, dying, and funerals in a café setting.

She said: ‘I’m passionate about enabling people to talk about dying and breaking this taboo because it will change how 
we approach death and support people we love.

‘We encourage and support people to have conversations about dying so that they don’t need to worry about this at a time of great emotional stress, so it’s not when you’re bereaved that you have to start making decisions about someone you love.’

Those of any faith or none were invited to drop in for tea and cake and ask questions in groups ranging from the type of funeral that people might want to hold to what heaven might be like.

Canon Dr Sandra Millar, head of projects and development for the Church of England, oversaw the scheme’s creation.

She said: ‘The Church of England observed that the taboo of talking about death is changing and there is an opportunity to encourage people to have that conversation. That’s where GraveTalk comes in.’

Clergy, worshippers, funeral directors, youth leaders and groups, and those involved in hospital and hospice chaplaincy were specifically invited.

Church House Publishing now publish the GraveTalk resources, including a guide on how to run GraveTalk events which is available to any organisation that may want to hold a GraveTalk event.

Anyone interested in holding an event can find out more by visiting the website at churchofenglandfunerals.org/gravetalk