Knox United Church is holding a special Christmas service for those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. The event takes place on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. (Emily Vance photo)

‘Christmas is not always easy for everybody’

‘Blue Christmas’ service offered in Parksville

Oh, it’s a holly, jolly Christmas – it’s the best time of the year! Right?

That may be the case for many people, but it’s not true for everyone, says Knox United Church’s Reverend Jennifer Ferguson.

With the emphasis on being around your loved ones during the holidays, people who don’t have access to that connection for whatever reason can feel particularly isolated.

2019 marks the third year that the Parksville church will be offering their ‘Blue Christmas’ service – an event specially for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

This year’s event takes place on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m.

“Christmas is not always easy for everybody. It’s a high rate of suicide, Christmas time, because that’s when the expectation is that everybody has family to go to and be a part of. And that isn’t necessarily true,” said Ferguson.

To help ease the difficulties that the holidays can bring for those who are grieving, Knox United has put together a special event that allows people to come and grieve in peace, without having to fake a smile.

“If this is the first year that your loved one’s not going to be there, then it’s a particularly sentimental time. I find as people age, it becomes much more of a sentimental time because Christmas is remembering all the times when everybody that you loved was there. And now they’re not,” said Ferguson.

READ MORE: Christmas program creating tradition for PQB single mother and daughter

The service will give people an opportunity to light candles and sing. The lights are kept low. There will be songs performed by local vocalist Pamela Brown, and an encouraging talk by Ferguson about loss and healing.

The service will also feature a healing team.

“It’s just a time to come and just know that there are other people that are grieving at this time, too. Just to be in the presence of other people that are experiencing loss, so that they don’t have to put on that everything’s fine, happy face, get into the holiday spirit. You don’t have to put on that fake pretense of everything’s fine. A holly jolly Christmas – it’s not a holly jolly for everybody.”

The service is followed by a reception with coffee, tea, goodies and prayer shawls that people are welcome to take home.

Ferguson says that in past years the service has drawn approximately 40 people. People don’t have to have a prior connection to the church to attend.

She shared the story of one woman who attended last year who had just lost her husband. She hadn’t been to Knox United before, but came anyway and found the experience incredibly healing.

“She was just so grateful for that opportunity. I did the prayer and laying on of hands and energy work for her, it was just so good, because she’d lost her husband after so many so many years, and it was going to be a lonely time for her,” said Ferguson.

“She said it was just nice to be in the presence of other people who were experiencing loss, and it was OK.”

The service will also feature a slideshow of photos of lost loved ones, submitted by those attending the service.

Anyone interested in submitting a photo has until Thursday (today) to submit it to tech@kucparksville.ca.

Knox United Church is located at 345 Pym St. in Parksville.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Naked Naturals has tentative deal for $2.5M purchase of town-owned in Qualicum Beach

Business plan includes a new grocery store, 32 units of rental housing and parking

Johns talks grants, veteran housing pilot with Qualicum Beach council

MP says he will help push for funding at the federal level

Parksville kids shovel neighbourhood driveways during snow day

Group of youngsters will donate the $185 raised to charity

Parksville man, 94, among oldest members of the Submariners Association of Canada

Ian Hopkins spent time in the Arctic in a submarine in the 1940s with the Royal Navy

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Kelowna’s “Baby Mary” finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

RDN looking at upgrading or relocating north Nanaimo transit exchange

Current bus loop at north Nanaimo mall at capacity, says staff report

Most Read