The Firelands Presbyterian Church in Port Clinton will again offer hope and healing on Thursday evening starting at 7 p.m. to with its special Longest Night of the Winter Solstice, which always falls on Dec. 21, the longest day of the year.
Pastor Jeanne Gay was at Firelands Presbyterian Church, 2626 East Harbor Rd., Port Clinton (just west of Walmart) when its Longest Night of the Winter Solstice began in 2009. It was her first year at Firelands Church, and Pastor Gay had never been to such a service.
Her solution was to put together just what she thought it should be, and invited a couple of other local ministers to join her in the celebration — and to bring their congregants. Especially those who found the holiday season bittersweet. This time of joy and expectation can often overshadow the pain and hurt that many experience during the Christmas holidays, when the world’s merriment puts their grief and sorrow in stark relief.
“The following year, one of the other pastors offered to hold the service at a different church, but Firelands prevailed and continues to hold this meaningful service still today, open to all in the people in the community,” said Vicki Wheatley, a church official. “Pastor Gay was was a real innovator while at Firelands Church.”
The Longest Night services were suspended during COVID, and they began again in 2021 at Firelands Church. The current Pastor, Bobbie Bella, will lead the year’s version of Longest Night of the Winter Solstice, and during this time scriptures will be read, hymns will be sung, and the hope that can be found in God will be shared.
This worship service helps those in the community who have lost loved ones, who struggle with serious illness, or feel overwhelmed by all the bad news in the world. The Service of the Longest Night will provide a quiet time for reflection with prayers, songs, scriptures, and candle lighting. All worshippers will be invited to light a candle as a symbol of Christ coming into the darkness of mourning.