Ecumenical service offers lift for those dealing with loss

PHOTO PROVIDEDThe Blue Christmas Prayer Service will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the Christ and St. John's Episcopal Church in Champlain. All are welcome.

CHAMPLAIN — For those suffering loss of loved one, marriage, health, job or other sorrow, the Blue Christmas Prayer Service at Christ and St. John's Episcopal Church may lift their spirits.

The service will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the church, located at 18 Butternut St. in Champlain.

It is an outreach of the Northern Tier Clergy Group, which is an ecumenical group of churches in Rouses Point, Champlain, Mooers, Mooers Forks and Chazy.

“The pastors meet once a month, and one of the things that has come up through the years as we've talked is the pastoral needs and concerns of those particularly grieving this time of year, especially,” said the Rev. Patricia Beauharnois, pastor at Christ and St. John's.

“For the holidays, if you've lost someone this past year, the first Christmas without them is a very difficult one. You have this mixture, obviously, of emotion — missing them and yet also you are surrounded by your loved ones that are with you and wanting to enjoy that time with them.”



This mixture of emotions and sadness can extend beyond the loss of loved ones to divorce, job loss, financial difficulties, health changes or other life experiences.

“All of those impact ability really to have joy during the season,” she said.

“It's compounded by the fact that everyone around you is joyful and cheerful, and you are not feeling that way. So, how can we offer some support to folks recognizing how they are feeling and honoring that and validating that, but helping them through it as well?”

The Blue Christmas Prayer Service is an invitation for people to come into the worship setting to have a time of prayer.

“Where we can recognize and honor their experiences and their losses, and hopefully they leave walking out with just a little bit of hope and maybe feeling just a little bit hope-filled through the season," Beauharnois said.

"So, that's our hope and prayer during this service. All the churches will be participating and supporting it whatever way that they can.”

Attendees can participate in a candle lighting during the service.

“The entire community is invited, any denomination,” Beauharnois said.


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