What Is The Empty Chair Memorial?
The Empty Chair Memorial is a service designed to help individuals, and the church community, experience and process grief. It’s a gathering in which comfort is provided by meeting together, reading Scripture, singing songs, praying, and sharing thoughts and feelings.
Why Have The Empty Chair Memorial?
The Empty Chair Memorial is important for several reasons.
First of all, it is well known that mourning rituals play an important role in making the grief journey a healthy one. This event provides a context which encourages and nurtures progress in the grief journey.
Secondly, the Christmas season is typically considered to be a time of joy. For people who have lost loved ones, it’s very difficult to be joyful in the midst of the festivities. Grief, especially during Christmas, is an extremely painful experience. Many grieving people end up, either isolating themselves in sadness, or being in contexts where they feel forced to look and act happy. The Empty Chair Memorial establishes a specific time when sadness and tears are permitted, and even encouraged, so that grieving people will have a greater capacity to experience the hopes and joys of the holiday season.
Thirdly, in recent years, the grieving process has been disrupted, complicated, and intensified by Covid. Some people were unable to be present with their loved one before or during death. Some did not have a timely funeral or memorial service for their loved one. Some services are still postponed until loved ones can meet without restrictions. Many people were not able to attend the funeral or memorial service of loved ones. Those who were able to attend, could not physically greet and hug each other for comfort.
The Empty Chair Memorial allows the church to spend an evening together to acknowledge the passing of our loved ones and to comfort one another in the journey of grief.
Who Is The Empty Chair Memorial For?
Empty Chair Memorial is for the whole church family. During the last few years, dozens of people connected with WEFC have passed away. It may be of particular interest to those who have lost family members or close friends, but the reality is that almost everyone knows someone who has passed away.
How Can People Participate?
One part of the program will be a PowerPoint presentation which will feature pictures of people who have died in recent years. Anyone wishing to have a loved one remembered and honored in this way, is invited to submit a picture and the date of birth and death to the church office by calling (204) 253-8464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.