Those who are grieving during the holiday season over the loss of a loved one are invited to Union United Methodist Church Friday.
The church, located at 780 East County Road 600 North, Brazil, will conduct the "Longest Night Service," that evening for people who are "grieving, mourning, experiencing sadness or anger." The event is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. The church is located across from the Clay County Airport.
The church's new pastor, Andrew Charnstrom, told The Brazil Times St. Luke United Methodist Church, Indianapolis, has conducted such a service in the past few years and received national attention through O, Oprah Winfrey's magazine.
"I know there are others around the country, although I am not tuned into which ones do," Charnstrom said.
He said the service is intended to "help not only those who have suffered such a loss, but those who are grieving any number of other losses or problems, which can include loss of employment, the end of a relationship, foreclosure, anger, or sorrow, etc."
"The reason behind the planning is the desire to bring the community a light into the Christmas season that may not exist and to bring into our congregation a new ministry," Charnstrom said. "It is healthy for a congregation to explore new ways of serving God through services to others and it is fundamental to our Christian mission to reach out to others."
A press release Charnstrom provided said the service would provide a "comfortable setting, with words and music, that may help those who are suffering to identify the source of their feelings."
Charnstrom said he hopes to continue this type of service through the church in the future.
"It is my hope that there is more we can do," he said. "Many of the people who would benefit from this type of service probably are already in connection with one of the local churches and I hope that we can help them strengthen that connection."