BY SHERI TRUSTY
Sometimes, the shortest day of the year, which falls just a few days before Christmas, can feel like the day that doesn’t end. When a person is facing Christmas after loss, the darkness of the Winter Solstice can feel impenetrable, the joy of the holidays unreachable, and the loneliness that comes after loss unbearable.
Firelands Presbyterian Church will join with other local churches to encourage and support those dealing with overwhelming sadness by hosting the ecumenical Service of the Longest Night on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. Firelands Presbyterian Church, 2626 E. Harbor Rd., Port Clinton.
The Service of the Longest Night was started by former pastor, Jeanne Gay of Firelands Presbyterian in 2009. Gay had never before attended a Winter Solstice, but she recognized the need to encourage people who are grieving and alone during the holidays. She invited a few local pastors to join her in helping people who were helping to find comfort and hope in a dark season.
This year, the church’s new pastor, Bobbie Bella, will be joined by clergy from St. Thomas Episcopal, Peace Lutheran and Trinity United Methodist Church. They will read Scripture, sing hymns, and talk about the hope that can be found in God when a loved one has died, serious illness persists, or other losses bring pain.
“We believe this is a time when everyone can get together and be a part of something bigger than themselves,” said Firelands Presbyterian Outreach Committee Chair Vicki Wheatly. “It’s a time for people who might not be able to enjoy the holidays. It’s uplifting for everyone to be together.”