Westlake Church Joins Worldwide Candle Lighting

Westlake United Methodist Church will participate in a Worldwide Candle Lighting honoring all children who have died too soon on Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 6:30 pm.

Westlake United Methodist Church will be one of the sites for this year’s 18th Lighting, sponsored by The Compassionate Friends, whose mission is to support families after a child has died.

Believed to be the largest mass candle lighting, the Worldwide Candle Lighting has become an event in which hundreds of services are held in memory of children throughout the day around the world.

At 6:30 pm, join with a caring community to remember children, grandchildren and siblings in this special gathering, which includes music, inspirational readings and messages of hope. At 7:00 pm, they will light candles to join the circle of light as it passes through each time zone encircling the globe to honor the memory of children who were the light of so many lives. Family and friends are invited to share in this time of healing and hope. Afterwards, share time together with refreshments, a memory wall and, weather permitting, the release of candle lanterns so that the light of our children will always

The event is free and open to all regardless of faith or no faith background.

The Story

On May 23, 2013, 11 days after Mother’s Day, Jennifer and Hamp Howell’s precious adult daughter, Danielle Koran, died at age 33. The suddenness and senselessness of her death magnified their grief, as did the fact that Danielle left behind her 23-month-old daughter, Ella Pyrczak, and her love; Ella’s father Alan Pyrczak. In searching for ways to help deal with her profound loss, Jennifer discovered The Compassionate Friends, and she embraced the idea of the Worldwide Candle Lighting as a special way to remember Danielle.

Last year, over 200 people attended the Worldwide Candle Lighting held at Westlake United Methodist church and found hope and a special sense of remembering with others who understand their loss.

Jennifer Howell took that special night to heart and continues to look for signs of hope to share with others. The most vivid reminder of her daughter and the assurance of hope came to Jennifer this August when the Howells were on a family vacation in Arizona. They were traveling from the Grand Canyon to Sedona when they were misdirected onto a meandering fire road in the midst of a storm. The road was dirt, quickly turned to mud by the onslaught of fierce rain, and became impassable. They made it to a clearing where they were greeted by the sight of a double rainbowwith beautiful colors set off against the dark stormy skies appearing to unite heaven and earth. The family had a deep abiding sense of Danielle, looking over and guiding them back to safety. The rainbows stayed with them as they made their way back to the interstate.

The rainbow is a symbol of promise in many cultures and religions. It reminds us of the rainbow of memories our children have given us. “When our world changes and our futures are not as we dreamed of them, you are given signs to remember the joy and unique bond that you shared. Like a rainbow,” said Jennifer. “We went from living in their presence to learning how to love them in separation. I encourage anyone who has lost a child at any age or stage to come to acknowledge their grief and experience healing and hope as we light candles in memory of those special children with whom we shared our yesterdays.”

For more information contact the church office at 440-871-3088 or go to compassionatefriends.org

Westlake United Methodist Church is located at 27650 Center Ridge Road in Westlake, Ohio.

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