Sioux Lookout’s 20th Ice Candle Memorial Service
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Aspiring to remember and honour residents of the area who have passed away this year, as well as those departed in the past, local churches have collaborated to host this year’s Ice Candle Memorial Service. With several uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 20th annual Sioux Lookout tradition was held at Sacred Heart Church on December 21.
A member of St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Muriel Anderson said that this year’s service was conducted at Sacred Hearts Church, “because it’s the largest church of those that take part.” This allowed participants to socially distance and meet all public health measures. Four Sioux Lookout churches were involved in putting on the Ice Candle Memorial Service, St. Andrew’s United Church, Sacred Heart Church, St. Mary’s Anglican Church and Cornerstone Christian Fellowship.
A member of Sacred Heart Church, Debbie Whalen shared that while keeping the recommendations of social distancing in mind, the service capacity was restricted to 56 people, which is about 30 percent of their normal capacity.
A member of the St. Andrew’s United Church, Aileen Urquhart shared that in previous years, the services would be spread out to three participating churches. Beginning the service at St. Andrew’s United Church, participants would walk to St. Mary’s Anglican Church to continue the service, to finally conclude at Sacred Heart Church. However, due to COVID, this years’ service was conducted at Sacred Heart Church only.
Whalen said the service was open to everyone and anyone who wished to remember a loved one was able to do so during the service.
Anderson shared that each participating church leader read names of those who had passed away this year and candles were lit as their names were read.
People were also able to light a candle in memory of a loved one who had passed away in year’s past.
Nate Hochstetler, the Pastor at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship said, “I think it’s important for us to do a service like this because it does help bring closer to families and also just shows that we as churches are involved in the whole process of someone passing, the grieving process. But not only at the time of passing, but then you know in weeks to follow and even at the end of the year now, we gather to help bring people closer and also remember their loved ones that have passed.”
The Rotary Club of Sioux Lookout prepared and sold ice candles, which were placed in memory of departed loved ones on snow terraces at Sacred Heart/Northway Cemetery, as well as at Hillcrest Cemetery on December 20.