Most hospices hold memorial events, ranging from an annual cathedral service to smaller and more regular hospice-based events. These events need to be both inclusive and accessible, regardless of the nature and extent of belief. They can be traditional, or creative, or a blend of both.
At the heart of most memorial events is some form of ‘Act of Remembrance’. The selection here includes a choice of wording, and also several ideas for creative activities which allow for more participation. Acts of remembrance
There are further suggestions available on our Hymns, Prayers and Poetry page.
Children quite often attend these events, and it’s good to include something for them. There are many excellent books for children, but all of these are short enough (or require little abridgement) to be read during a service, with excellent illustrations. Children’s stories
We would value copies of recent Hospice Memorial Events to post, to extend this resource.
Advent / Christmas events
As well as the regular Memorial Services, most hospices hold a ‘Light Up A Life’ service early in December. The actual title, format and venue varies, but most include a switching-on ceremony, with the lights dedicated in honour of loved ones. The lights then remain throughout Advent and Christmas as a continuing, visible remembrance. As ‘Light Up’ events tend to combine memorial, carol service and fundraiser, they do require sensitivity to organise, but they have proved popular throughout the UK for over twenty years, bringing comfort to many who may find Christmas a difficult time.
There are some sample programmes below. Again, we would value more examples to build this resource.
Weston Hospice Care, Weston-Super-Mare Light Up a Life, 2018
Farleigh Hospice, Chelmsford Blue Christmas, 1014
Highland Hospice, Inverness Light Up a Life, 2010
Northern Ireland Hospice, Newtownabbey Lights to Remember
Eden Valley Hospice, Carlisle Chaplain’s Welcome, 2013
Saint Michael’s Hospice, Harrogate Annual Thanksgiving, 2013
Weston HospiceCare, Weston-super-Mare 30th Anniversary Service, 2019 with memorial stones 1 and memorial stones 2
Scotland Regional Group, 2019 A Celtic Morning Prayer