Life before death: Matthew Callow on caring for struggling Friends

‘Those who cry out the loudest are not necessarily those who need the most support.’

‘Talking about suicide can save lives.’ | Photo: by Stormseeker on Unsplash

Once, at an Anglican Evensong in my teenage years, I was idly flicking through the Book of Common Prayer. I noticed that at the beginning of the ‘Order for the Burial of the Dead’ it said that this rite should not be used for those who have ‘laid violent hands upon themselves’. The vicar later confirmed that this was in reference to suicide, and that it was once customary to bury the deceased in unconsecrated ground, or in a part of the burial ground which received the least sunlight. He explained that it was once the pervasive Christian view that suicide was sinful.

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