The 13th Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting of the Lighthouse Chapter of The Compassionate Friends will be held starting at 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, at Epworth United Methodist Church on Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach.
The Worldwide Candle Lighting begins when the first candles are lit in New Zealand and then moves westward through various time zones as tens of thousands of bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents, relatives and friends around the globe join together to light remembrance candles to honor the memories of children who have died but will never be forgotten.
Guest speaker Gail Sezna, author of the award-winning book “My Boys: A Mother’s Story After Multiple Losses,” will speak on "Writing Through Grief," relating to her dealing with the tragic deaths of two of her three sons within the span of two years and the subsequent divorce from her husband. She will share with bereaved families how she managed to pick up the pieces and provide insight on how she moved forward from overwhelming grief toward hope and healing.
The evening’s ceremony transcending all ethnic, cultural, religious and political boundaries includes music, inspirational readings and a visual presentation memorializing children who have died at any age. Lighted candles will be raised and a bell will toll as the name of each deceased child is read.
TCF Lighthouse Memorial Tree and Photo Presentation
The Lighthouse Chapter of The Compassionate Friends will set up a Memorial Tree at the Worldwide Candle Lighting at Epworth United Methodist Church on Holland Glade Road off Route 1 Sunday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.
A team of volunteers will create ornaments with your child’s picture to decorate this tree. Also, the chapter will produce a PowerPoint memorial presentation that will be shown during the candle lighting.
If you would like to have your child memorialized on an ornament and be included in the visual presentation, email a photo of your child (jpg format) with his or her name to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also mail a photograph to the address below and it will be returned providing you include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Send photo and any voluntary donation (make check payable to TCF Lighthouse Chapter) to TCF Memorial Tree c/o Kathy Keuski, 41 Fox Creek Drive, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971.
“This service is a way of uniting together to remember our children who have died too soon,” says Lighthouse Chapter leader Joan Wallen. “The Worldwide Candle Lighting is one way that we try to bring light out of darkness during the holiday season, which is an extremely difficult time of the year for bereaved parents and families. Like a ring, this circle of light surrounding the globe represents that there is no beginning and no end for the love we carry for our children.”
This is the 16th Worldwide Candle Lighting sponsored by TCF, the nation’s largest self-help bereavement organization for families who have suffered the tragic loss of a child at any age. The event is held annually the second Sunday in December. TCF has more than 650 chapters in the United States, with sister organizations in at least 30 countries.
The Worldwide Candle Lighting is open to all who wish to participate, whether by sponsoring or attending a service open to the public, joining in a small gathering, or lighting a candle in the quiet solitude of their homes or wherever they may be. In 2011, more than 500 services were held in the United States including every state, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
During the day of the Worldwide Candle Lighting, a Remembrance Book will be open to the public on TCF’s national website to receive memorial messages of love which are posted from around the world. Last year, more than 5,000 were received, many in foreign languages. To view a list of known services open to the public and for more information about The Compassionate Friends and the event, visit www.compassionatefriends.org or call 877-969-0010.
For the Lighthouse Chapter Candle Lighting, participants are requested to arrive at Epworth Church around 6:30 to register their child’s name and date of death so they can be read during the ceremony. Epworth Church is at 19285 Holland Glade Road about a quarter mile from its intersection with Route 1.
The candle lighting will begin with an audio/video presentation of photos of children who have died. The memorial highlight of the Lighthouse Chapter’s program is when each child’s name and date of death are read, a bell is tolled and candles are held aloft by parents, family and friends in tribute to each child. Also, a special Memory Tree will feature ornaments with the names and photos of chapter members' deceased children.
Refreshments will be served following the candle lighting.
For more information about the event, call team leaders Hope Tyler at 302-645-7572, Joan Wallen at 302-226-1623 or Marge LaFond at 302-703-2383. For more information about TCF and locations of chapters nationwide, call toll-free 877-969-0010 or go to TCF’s national website compassionatefriends.org. The Compassionate Friends has a presence in 30 countries and is the world’s largest self-help bereavement organization.