HUNTSVILLE – During a season where feeling joyful is the expected norm, a recent service of comfort was held for those going through a difficult time.
“We want people to know that they’re not alone, that hope is there. It’s quite alright to feel what they’re feeling
and they will be okay.”
– Rev. S. Derek Shelly
Trinity United Church, in co-operation with Hospice Huntsville, held a Tidings of Comfort service on Dec. 9 for those who may have lost a loved one, lost a job, or have experienced health or relationship issues or other personal problems and are finding the Christmas season to be difficult.
“Everybody, everywhere you go is joy this, joy that and that’s not reality for a lot of people,” said Rev. S. Derek Shelly, minister of Trinity United Church. “There’s a lot of people who are feeling all kinds of difficulties due to losses and the experiences they’re having.”
One of the important aspects to having a community service like this is allowing residents to realize they’re not alone in feeling these emotions.
“We acknowledge that it is Christmas and we have these feelings – if it’s the loss of a loved one and it may be the first Christmas without them – because we’re not feeling all the joy there’s nothing wrong with us, doesn’t mean we’re wrong or we’re bad or anything. It just acknowledges what it is and we’re not alone in it.”
Shelly said the service was well attended.
“If I only count success by numbers than I’m always going to feel like a failure, because if it touches one person that’s the whole purpose of having it,” he said.
During the service those in attendance could write the name of a loved one or a concern on a star that will be hung on a Christmas tree in the church.
“I believe it’s important because I know people experience difficulty,” said Shelly. “Loss is a part of our lives. Christmas comes every year and we want it to be a celebration of hope … We use the word peace a lot but sometimes that peace isn’t what we feel inside. We feel kind of hopeless. So the purpose of the service is to acknowledge those feelings, and that feelings are feelings; they’re not right, they’re not wrong, they just are. In that we’re not alone, we have a community.”
He would like to see the service held again next year in one way or another and encourages other organizations to come on board with the church and hospice.
“We do it because we want people to know that they’re not alone, that hope is there and it’s quite alright to feel what they’re feeling and they will be okay,” said Shelly.