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Partnership of Faith for New York City Launches Covid Victims’ Burial Program

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Published in the issue.

The Columbarium at St. James' Church, Madison Avenue, with the Rev. James Morton, left, and the rector of St. James', the Rev. Brenda Husson, right.
The Columbarium at St. James' Church, Madison Avenue, with the Rev. James Morton, left, and the rector of St. James', the Rev. Brenda Husson, right.

On Tuesday, March 9, the Rev. Brenda Husson, rector of St. James Episcopal Church-Madison Avenue, along with members of the Partnership of Faith for New York City, made a solemn trip to the morgue where refrigerated trailers are utilized by the city’s Office of the Medical Examiner for the approximately 300 victims of Covid-19 whose bodies remain unburied. This partnership includes clergy from the three great Abrahamic faiths and is devoted to working together for the welfare of the City.

“We made the journey to offer prayers as a first step to providing dignified committal and burial services for these our neighbors, some of whom have no family or whose family cannot provide funeral costs,” said the Rev. Husson. “As in life, when the poorest of New York communities were and remain disproportionately ravaged by Covid, so it is that some of our poorest neighbors’ bodies remain unburied or unclaimed.”

The plan to provide burial was conceived by a member of St. James’ congregation and embraced by the Vestry and now by the Diocese of New York. Burial, cremation, burial plots and places in memorial gardens or columbaria are all needed as are funds to defray the funeral costs.

If you have questions or you or your congregation feel led to join in this effort please contact the Rev. Husson or her assistant the Rev. James Morton, who is helping to coordinate this effort at [email protected] or [email protected] We encourage you to spread the word to others—individuals and interfaith partners—you believe would like to join you in this effort.