Perhaps there is some symbolism here. Two evenings running the rain thundered down and the days are shorter and darker at this time of year anyway, but then we arrived into the warmth and light of two lovely churches in order to take part in two very touching events.
Albion United Reformed Church 10 December
This is a huge church yet it was beautifully warm when we arrived, and all lit it by the Christmas Tree Festival exhibits. The memorial service here was arranged by Co-op Funeralcare Tameside Region.
St Wilfrid’s Church 11 December
This is a more intimate but equally charming church. And equally warm. We’ve been here before and were indeed welcomed like old friends. The service this time was organised by Northenden Funeralcare, also part of the Co-op group.
These were memorial services, not funerals and though there is some sadness as loved ones who have passed recently are remembered, there was more joy and reverence than darkness. This was apparent in the very appropriate and moving readings at each event.
On both occasions candles were lit to shine in the dark as a list of loved ones was read out.
We sang a few well-known carols – Away in a Manger (both), Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Albion), O Come All Ye Faithfull (St Wilfrid’s) , Once in Royal David’s City (Albion) and Silent Night (both). And at both venues we also sang The Blessing and Bridge over Troubled Waters, both of which fitted the theme of the events very well. In addition we sang The Water is Wide at St Wilfrid’s.
It was good, too, to be able to chat to attendees and organisers over refreshments at the end of each service.
We must thank Funeral Celebrant Martin McNally for putting us in touch with the organisers. He happens to be one of our basses!
What a privilege to be able to take part in these very special occasions.