Sunday, December 2, 2012

16th Annual Candle Lighting

The 16th Worldwide Candle Lighting this year is Dec. 9, next Sunday at 7 p.m. During this time hundreds of thousands of bereaved parents will light a candle to honor and remember any child who has died from any cause at any age.

Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the candle lighting creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held as well as thousands of informal candle-lightings are held in homes in quiet remembrance of our children, gone too soon but not forgotten.

For those of you who would like to plan an organized memorial service in your home town to last from a few minutes to as long as you’d like, here is how you can go about doing it.

1. Choose a chairperson to organize the event. The chairperson will need volunteers to help and you should start in the early fall.

2. Do a timeline for when things should get done. Finalize location, and order candles in September. In October select readings, poems and presents; arrange for music, prepare flyers to communicate with the public and include a map. In November, write and deliver press releases to local media and if there is a TCF chapter in your area or closeby, have them notify members. In December, reconfirm location, music, presenters and print program.

3. Determine a location that can hold many people. Some groups choose a park setting, since there is no limit to who can come. Get permission to use a park early.

4. Publicize the time. If you are not connected to TCF, say in your literature that the service is held in conjunction with the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting. Fill out an online submission form at the national website: to provide information so that it can be posted prominently with all other known candle lightings. This allows those who visit the website and wish to attend a candle lighting in your area to know of your event. Contact interested local groups, churches and funeral homes and contact a variety of media including newspapers, television and local talk show radio. Some stations may broadcast a public service announcement about your service at no charge.

5. Stress in your publicity that this is a remembrance program rather than a holiday program.

6. Ask those involved in planning to come one to two hours ahead of time to help with the preparations. Carry a cell phone just in case.

7. Invite the media to attend, but do not permit any interviews during the ceremony or taking of pictures.

8. Consider including the following in your program: MUSIC playing softly while you distribute candles. The popular song “Precious Child” is very appropriate. READING of messages posted throughout the day at the national website to show the unity this event creates throughout the world. READ the names of all the children being remembered or go around the room and have a parent or family member say the child’s name. Mention in general terms that this is held to remember all children, siblings and grandchildren who have died. SOCIALIZE after the program so those who want to can share thoughts. Provide light refreshments

9. Emphasize in all publicity that anyone not able to attend may participate by simply lighting a candle at home alone or with friends and family.

On the website you are encouraged to post a memorial message of remembrance that their light may always shine.