Cheery carols, bright decorations, nicely-wrapped presents, lots of festive cheer; that’s what Christmas is all about – right?
Well, not for everyone. And St Canice’s Church in Eglinton is doing something to recognise that for many people the traditional way of spending Christmas can be painful.
The church plans to hold a ‘Blue Christmas Service’ on December 21, the Winter Solstice, which is the longest night of the year. As the name suggests, the service is for those for whom traditional festivities can bring on a dose of the blues.
Rev. Paul Hoey, Rector of St Canice’s, explained: “I’m very aware that for those dealing with the death of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, facing financial pressures or living with illness that puts a question mark over the future, parties and joviality can be painful rather than pleasurable.
“This service will offer an opportunity for them to be honest with God about how they really feel, and to seek the healing and hope that this season is really about.”
Rev. Paul got the idea from a little church in the West of Ireland, which had adapted it from something that began in America where it is called The Longest Night Service.
“Everyone in the community is welcome, churchgoer or not, of any denomination or none”’ said Rev. Paul. “Nobody has to do anything other than be still and seek peace in the quietness of a sacred space and rest in the midst of a busy season. It’s the first time we’ve done this and I don’t know if anyone will turn up. But I hope that some people will.”
The Blue Christmas Service is on Wednesday, December 21 at 7:30pm in St Canice’s Church, Eglinton.
St. Canice’s Parish
The village of Eglinton originally known as Muff (Irish meaning a plain or level district) was founded in 1619 by the Grocers’ Company of London.
In 1626 the church was built and it has ever since been the parish church of Faughanvale.
Its ruins are in the graveyard of present parish church which was built in 1821.
St Canice’s Church, Eglinton: 8.30am Holy Communion (1st Sunday)
10.00am Family Communion (every Sunday in term time)
11.30am (11.00am in holiday time) Holy Communion (3rd, 5th Sundays)
Morning Prayer (1st, 2nd, 4th Sundays)