By LINDA M. LINONIS
Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, who is welcomed as a member of the Holy Family and the family of man.
Christmas also celebrates family and friends and memories shared. But for those who have experienced a loss in 2013, “now is the time when they see an empty chair, now is time for tears,” said the Rev. David Joachimm.
The pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church said the deceased are generally remembered at All Saints Day services and the church has observed that. “This isn’t on the liturgical calendar,” he said of Remembrance Sunday, but noted it is a time when it is needed.
The service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday is the sixth such event at the church. “It’s properly called a necrology reading,” said the Rev. Mr. Joachim. The service will pay tribute to Westminster members who have died in the last 12 months and nonmembers whose funerals were at the church.
Families, who have been notified, will light candles in memory of loved ones as names are read. And anyone who wishes to come forward to remember someone who has died any time in the past may do so.
“This time of remembrance is intended to help bring healing to grief and some closure,” Mr. Joachim said.
Mr. Joachim said the message also will talk about “eternal life and the theology of hope.” “We will see loved ones again in heaven,” he said.
The pastor said the service has been well-received. “People appreciate being able to remember,” he said.
For the first time, Westmister conducted a Blue Christmas service early in December. That service was geared to those who may feel “blue” for various reasons during a joyful season. “That service was about moving on and not getting stuck,” Mr. Joachim said. “There was caring and tears.”
The Rev. Michael Zabel, pastor of Faith Community Covenant Church, said a Service of Remembrance planned at worship at 10:45 a.m. Jan. 5 will be a first at the church.
He said names of members and regular attendees who died in 2012 and 2013 will be read. A candle will be lighted in memory of each person. Another candle will be lighted to remember others who have died.
“It’s an opportunity to remember loved ones and friends and take time to reflect on what they meant in our lives,” the Rev. Mr. Zabel said.
He said the service also will include mention of the birth of Jesus celebrated at Christmas and his death and resurrection at Easter and how He died for all.
“We hope it gives a measure of comfort,” Mr. Zabel said of the service. “It’s a chance to show those who died will not be forgotten.”