The week before Christmas, the Free Church of Scotland congregation in Argyll held a short service for those struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one.
Rev. Robert Macleod, who has extensive experience in hospital chaplaincy, organised the service as an acknowledgement that Christmas and New Year can often be an unhappy time for those who have not had the proper chance to properly grieve for close family and friends. The service took place in Tarbert Free Church on Wednesday 23 December, at 7.30pm.
Mr Macleod explained: ‘Christmas is a time of great joy and happiness, but for many the reality of loss fills it with sadness. The sense of loss and grief might not even be around recent bereavement. With grief, there is no specific roadmap to becoming whole. For most, it proves to be a most painful of journeys, full of twists and turns, bruised hearts and misunderstandings’.
The minister for Tarbert and Lochgilphead added, ‘It has been said by someone, “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal”. In my years of pastoral ministry and chaplaincy, I have witnessed that reality and it is something we must make every effort to address, not least at this time of year.
‘This was the second year we have made this provision for those within the community of Tarbert, for whom loss is a painful reality’.
The service provided a space for people to spend a time of quiet, allowing them to reflect upon, and commemorate the lives of, their loved ones and the cause of their grief. Refreshments were served at the conclusion of the service.