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Victoria inter-faith churches join to present Blue Christmas service for grieving

Dec. 3 service is intended to comfort those who feel alone or sad during the holiday season
Rev. Carrelyn Sheldan of the Victoria Truth Centre hopes to provide comfort to those feeling sad or alone during the holiday season during a Blue Christmas service Dec. 3. (Courtesy of Carrelyn Sheldan)

Two Victoria churches will host a non-denominational, inter-faith service for people who are grieving this holiday season.

The Centre for Spiritual Living Victoria and the Victoria Truth Centre have banded together to provide people who are not feeling the holiday joy with comfort and community.

The Blue Christmas service will be held Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.

Linda Cain, one of the organizers of the service, said that working in the ICU years ago showed her that the holiday season was among one of the toughest times in the year.

With television shows and typical holiday songs presenting the ideal of family gatherings and food being plentiful, Cain said that is not always the reality for many people.

“Sometimes it is not due to the loss of a loved one,” Cain said. “It’s just due to dysfunctional families or sometimes you’re not comfortable with being with certain family members. So that’s another loss in your life.”

Cain said hosting the event early in the month and on a Saturday was an intentional decision because many times feelings of loneliness and sadness around the holiday season can sneak up quickly, before people feel too alienated.

“If you are Catholic you can go talk to a priest, if you are of a certain organized religion, there is sort of somebody there that you can talk to,” Cain said. “But for other people, they’re thinking, you know, where do I go?”

Giving people an outlet where they aren’t required to be happy or cheerful, but can express their true feelings is the main goal of the Blue Christmas Service.

Reverend Carrie Hunter from the Centre for Spiritual Living said the nature of grief is complicated and people often feel blindsided by their feelings.

“You never know what’s going to come up next or when,” Hunter said. “But one of the things I do know is that Christmas is really tough for people who have lost people and for some people, they don’t get over it for a long time.”

The service, which will be inter-faith, will feature music and readings, as well as an opportunity to light a candle for a loved one and gather to share refreshments afterward.

Cain hopes this service will be a chance for people who are struggling to feel safe to confront their real feelings to take that next step toward healing.

“It’s OK to not be happy at Christmastime, and it’s OK to cry and to just feel sad or lost, and you’re not alone,” Cain said.

READ MORE: Loved ones need extra support during the holidays: BC Cancer


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Hollie Ferguson

About the Author: Hollie Ferguson

Hollie moved to Victoria from Virginia in September 2022 with her partner Zachary and their two pups, Theodore and Bibi.
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