The 14th Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting of the Lighthouse Chapter of The Compassionate Friends will be held beginning at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8 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 candles to honor their children who have died but will never be forgotten.
The evening’s guest speaker is Midge DiNatale, an American Academy of Grief Counseling certified grief counselor who lost her son Matthew to suicide in 1994. She said, “My talk entitled ‘Surviving the Loss of a Child‘ will offer hope for bereaved parents, especially during the holidays when the loss feels so intense.”
DiNatale has been involved in several The Compassionate Friends and Survivors of Suicide groups and has been to The Link Counseling Center, a nationally recognized program for suicide survivors. She has worked in healthcare and social services for more than 25 years and is currently employed at Beebe Healthcare.
The evening’s ceremony transcends ethnic, cultural, religious and political boundaries and includes music, inspirational readings and a visual presentation memorializing children who have died. Lighted candles will be raised and a bell will toll as the name of each deceased child is read.
“This service is a way of uniting to remember our children who have died too soon,” said Lighthouse Chapter Leader Marge LaFond. "The Worldwide Candle Lighting is one way that we try to bring light out of darkness during the holiday season, which is a 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.”
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 posted from around the world. Last year, more than 5,000 were received, many in foreign languages. For more information call Marge LaFond at 302-703-2383 or email her at email@example.com. Visit The Compassionate Friends at www.compassionatefriends.org or call 877-969-0010.
Lighthouse Chapter Candle Lighting participants should arrive at Epworth Church around 6 p.m. to register their child’s name and date of death so they can be read during ceremony. The candle lighting will begin with an audio/video presentation of photos of children who have died. 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.