“We are very excited about this fabulous opportunity for people to experience something really special during The Service of Remembrance,” explained Doreen Davis Fuhr. “We will celebrate and remember loved ones who are no longer here with us physically, but who are with us spiritually. People enjoy being reminded of their living connection to those they love who have passed away; it’s very comforting.”
Doreen, head deacon at Community Church, Congregational, in Corona del Mar, invites anyone interested in a meaningful way to honor deceased family and friends to attend their All Saints’ Day services Sunday, Oct. 30 at 8 and 10 am.
“It’s a wonderful way for people to investigate something new, especially if they are not already connected to a church,” Doreen explained. “We’ll have a time for people to light a candle and say the name of loved ones who have departed this earthly pilgrimage. We’ll have a big banquet table, recalling the Last Supper. In the same way that taking Communion is remembering Jesus and that His Spirit is with us always, we’ll be sharing in the banquet of life here and now, as well as remembering the departed who are with us in spirit. We will have plenty of candles.”
Doreen explained that All Saints’ Day is Nov. 1 and was instituted by the Catholic Church in the 7th century as a time to commemorate the departed saints. She said that the word ‘Halloween’ came from the phrase ‘All Hallows’ Eve,’ because it was the evening before All Saints Day.
“Halloween isn’t about the dark side, it’s really about the light and the hope we have in Jesus, and that our spirits live forever,” Doreen said.
Vicki Ronaldson, a member of Community Church for f14 years, also appreciates the Service of Remembrance.
“This particular service is really special for me in the way we are specifically encouraged to grieve and honor those we have loved and lost,” Vicki said. “I went to the service last year and appreciated the opportunity to remember so many wonderful people. We’ve lost many amazing pillars in our church, some who had been part of it for 50 years.
“On a more personal level, the service was a time of remembering the twin I lost in utero, and how much I’m looking forward to meeting that child in heaven. I also focused on my wonderful grandparents who had such big hearts and reached out to so many, especially those who ended up homeless during the Depression.”
“In daily life here, it often feels like people try to hurry you through grief, telling you it’s time to move on,” Vicki continued. “Many cultures recognize and respect the need to be with others when grieving, they don’t leave people alone during that time, and they believe that true healing comes from grieving in community.
“That makes so much sense to me. For example, within two years, I lost six friends to breast cancer and I loved the chance to talk about and treasure the love I shared with them. This service gives the opportunity to stop and hold up the tender people who have made such a great impact on your life. Doing so is precious and helps with healing. I’m really looking forward to it this year.”
Senior Pastor Chip Fisher hopes the service increases awareness about the reality of eternal life.
“It was Jesus who said, ‘I have prepared a place for you,’ which He likened to an eternal banquet,” Chip explained. “Our intent is to celebrate and symbolically reenact that sense of community which Christ referred to when He said that when we die, we will join with Him and others who have gone before us at the Heavenly Banquet Table. One of the joys and privileges we Christians have and look forward to is meeting our Lord, and also being reunited in the grand Banquet Hall with our loved ones in Christ.”
“The happiness of a wedding and the wedding reception is one of our most joyful celebrations in this lifetime,” Chip continued. “The union of the bride and groom and the coming together of loving friends and family at the banquet table is a great picture Jesus used to describe something of the next dimension.
“Eternal life will be so much more than that, of course, but this gives us a foretaste. Knowing that God loves us and offers eternal life, and keeping that reality at the forefront of our minds, gives real, concrete hope – the kind that helps us live differently now. We also hope that those who are mourning or grieving over the loss of loved ones will feel comfort and hope”.
For further information, go to www.cdmucc.org.
Cindy can be reached at [email protected].