Tumbler Ridge Candlelight Service

A candlelight service was held at New Life Assembly church on the evening of December 2nd. The commemorative service, in its second year, was both touching and gratifying, especially for those who have lost loved ones.

The ceremony began with an opening prayer by Pastor George Rowe and was followed by vocalizations by Councillors Rose Colledge and Larry White, who was the guest speaker for the event. White?s humour mixed in well with his message of honouring those who are both here and those that are gone. He had members of the congregation amused with quotes from children on what love means from their perspective.

Colledge reflected on the passing of her father and how she felt the needs of the community were being met with such a ceremony and spoke on behalf of Mayor and Council in welcoming people to participate in this event.

The conception of this ceremony was because of organizer Sherry Berringer. She unfortunately lost her husband in March of 2004 and after being counseled by Sandy and Richard Beattie at Reynar?s Funeral Home at a funeral service in Chetywnd, Berringer realized the need for this sort of tribute for others in Tumbler Ridge and was encouraged and supported by the Beatties.

As well as vocal performances by Reverend Bill Hendley, Lisa Claffey and the TR Community Choir, there was a delightful start to the evening with the Tumbler Ridge Fellowship Baptist Church Children?s Choir, led by Barb Leuze and Tina Webb.

A particularly touching and sentimental part of the ceremony was the candle lighting itself. Following the reading of a story called Mustard Seed Christmas, aftercare grief counselor Bev Dunsmore, also from Reynar?s encouraged people to pay honour to their loved ones by receiving a red ribbon with a dove and mustard seed attached, to go and light a candle for those who have passed. Beginning the procession was Doug and Rosemary Foerster. A wonderful picture presentation showed pictures of honoured loved ones as the people lit candles. The presentation was put together by Father David John of the Tumbler Ridge Catholic Church. The ribbons were made by members of a Dawson Creek group who wanted Tumbler Ridge to know they were supportive of them.

A poignant poem written by Helen Steinam-Rice was recited by Berringer, who finds this year more trying than last. ?I was in shock for the (last) whole year and this year I feel (Brian?s) loss even more.? She is grateful to Joanne Bibby, the Hospice and Palliative Care grief counselor for Tumbler Ridge, for her support and understanding during her darkest times. Bibby spoke on the many stages of grief.

Closing the ceremony was a prayer by Pastor Doug Spinney. It was a wonderful commemorative to those who are gone and those who remain. Refreshments were served in the basement following the service. Programs for the event were created by Berringer and Sue Hammond.