Holiday Memorial Service
Monday, November 26, 2018 at 7 p.m.
The holiday season brings on powerful memories and emotions, and it can be a particularly painful time for parents who have lost a child. In 2007, clergy from St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church worked with a group of parents who have experienced such a loss, discussing how to be responsive and supportive to bereaved parents and families. One suggestion was the establishment of a special holiday service dedicated to the memory of their children. The first such service, sponsored by a group of congregations in the Richmond area, was held at St. Stephen’s in December 2007, and the service continues to be offered, sometimes at St. Stephen's, sometimes at another location.
In her book of daily meditations, Healing After Loss, Martha Whitmore Hickman writes, “At this season of the year–so filled with memories and, for most people, family occasions–sometimes our grief seems all but unbearable. And grief is often especially sharp around holiday occasions.” But, she goes on, memory can also have a way of “nourishing the heart” and “easing the sharp edges of grief.” It is in that spirit, and with that hope, says the Rev. Gary Jones, St. Stephen’s rector, that the congregations offer this memorial service “dedicated to the sacred memory of children we have lost.”
Lay and ordained representatives of sponsoring faith communities and schools take part in the service, along with parents who are invited to light a candle in their child’s memory and say the child’s name aloud.
A simple reception follows the service. Child care will be provided during the service for children age 5 and under.
Sponsors include: All Saints Episcopal Church, Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Church of the Holy Comforter, Grace and Holy Trinity Church, St. Bridget Catholic Church, St. Catherine’s School, St. Christopher’s School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Second Presbyterian Church. If you would like to join as a sponsor, please contact Steve McGehee.
The Rev. Steve McGehee // 804.288.2867 // email