Fort Benton, Montana: The death of a child is devastating and it’s important to the family that the child always be remembered. That’s why members The Compassionate Friends (TCF) of North Central Montana will participate in an annual worldwide event designed to honor the memories of all children, regardless of age, who have died. The Chapter is joining Sunday, December 13, 2015 with hundreds of organized memorial services around the world for The Compassionate Friends 19th annual Worldwide Candle Lighting, an event now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting in the world.
The local candle lighting will be part of a special service held at 7:00 p.m. at Community Bible Center and will feature music by Rudi and Gail Cicon and Shawn and Jamie Carrier, readings and poems, and snacks throught the evening. Annually tens of thousands of families, united in loss, light candles for one hour during the Worldwide Candle Lighting, held the second Sunday in December. Candles are first lit at 7 p.m., local time, just west of the International Date Line. As candles burn down in one time zone, they are lighted in the next, creating a 24-hour wave of light as the observance continues around the world.
“This is our gift to the bereavement community,” says TCF/USA Executive Director Alan Pedersen.
“The holiday season is an extremely difficult time of the year for families grieving the death of a child. This marks one and a half decades the Worldwide Candle Lighting has united bereaved families around the globe as a symbolic way of showing the love we continue to carry for our children, even though they can no longer be with us physically. This candle lighting transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries as tens of thousands of families share in this worldwide memorial event.
“Here, throughout the United States,” Mr. Pedersen adds, “members of our 650 Chapters observe this day in differing ways, some alone, some with friends and family, and many in organized candle lighting ceremonies like the service planned by The Compassionate Friends of North Central Montana. We invite everyone, whether or not they have suffered the personal loss of a child, to join in this moving tribute.” This event is for families, and friends.
With the theme “…that their light may always shine,” the Worldwide Candle Lighting has grown larger every year with formal services last year in all 50 United States and Washington D.C., as well as at least 19 countries around the world. TCF’s national website, www.compassionatefriends.org, is expected to receive and post information on more than the 550 services submitted to and listed on its website last year. The website will also have open for posts a Remembrance Book which will receive thousands of tributes from family members and other caring individuals.
To contact The Compassionate Friends of North Central Montana, call Gail Allen at (406) 739-4258. For more information about the national organization and locations of its Chapters nationwide, call (877) 969-0010, or visit TCF’s national website, www.compassionatefriends.org. The Compassionate Friends has a presence in at least 30 countries and is the world’s largest self-help bereavement organization.