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Local candlelight service to remember children lost

Members of the community who have been touched by the death of a child at any age, from any cause, are invited to attend the 11th annual Candlelight Remembrance Service on December 8 at 6:30 p.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ, Alexandria.

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All families/friends are welcome, regardless if their loss is recent or if it’s been 40 years. Families may bring mementos or framed photographs to display in the back of the church beginning at 6 p.m.

The service will include vocal performances, poetry, live harp music and the individual lighting of remembrance candles.

A nursery will be staffed free of charge for families with small children.

The candles will remain lit from 7 to 8 p.m. in accordance with The Compassionate Friends (TCF) Worldwide Candle Lighting.

Following the service, while the candles remain lit, participants will gather for refreshments and fellowship.

TCF began a worldwide candle lighting vigil 17 years ago as a way to recognize and honor children who had died. Globally, tens of thousands of bereaved families are expected to participate.

Starting in New Zealand at 7 p.m., candles are lit across the globe from one time zone to the next. A wave of light is created encircling the globe. It is believed to be the world’s largest mass candle lighting.

The local event is organized by the Alexandria Area Support Group for Grieving Parents of All Ages and the MISS Infant Loss Support Group.

The Alexandria Area Support Group for Grieving Parents of All Ages meets the fourth Monday of every month in the Sunrise Conference Room at the Alexandria Clinic from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, call Kathy Fischer at (320) 763-5781.

The local MISS Infant Loss Support Group meets monthly in Alexandria at First Congregational United Church of Christ. It is open to all who have endured a stillbirth or death of an infant. Call Heidi at (320) 859-5660 or Trina at (320) 763-6317 for information.

For more information on the memorial service, contact Heidi Ciepielinski at (320) 859-5660 or (320) 217-3341.