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Joke at my funeral and I’ll haunt you for ever

Joke at my funeral and I’ll haunt you for ever

Peter Hitchens comments on findings from new Theos report ‘Love, Grief and Hope’ in Daily Mail column. 02/12/2023

In Alan Bennett’s best play, Forty Years On, he sums up modern Britain in two bleak sentences. It is a country where ‘a butterfly is an event’ and where ‘death is a telephone call from the doctor’.

As we live our lives more frantically and intensely, and more individually, we find death not so much frightening as unthinkable. We don’t want to think about the deaths of those we love, or of our own. And a survey by the think–tank Theos last week found that, among other things, we are giving up on funerals. Astoundingly (to me anyway) it reported ‘fewer than half our respondents said they want a funeral at all’. A procedure known as ‘direct cremation’, a plain disposal of the remains, is becoming popular.

Read the full article here.


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Image by the Daily Mail

Madeleine Pennington

Madeleine Pennington

Madeleine is Head of Research at Theos. She holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford, and previously worked as a research scholar at a retreat and education centre in Philadelphia. She is the author of ‘The Christian Quaker: George Keith and the Keithian Controversy’ (Brill: 2019), ‘Quakers, Christ and the Enlightenment’ (OUP, 2021), ‘The Church and Social Cohesion: Connecting Communities and Serving People’ (Theos, 2020), and ‘Cohesive Societies: Faith and Belief’ (British Academy, 2020). Outside of Theos, she sits on the Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations.

Watch, listen to or read more from Madeleine Pennington

Posted 2 December 2023


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