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A time for angels

Loved ones remember those lost at special service Sunday

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Rob Gunderson lights candles in memory of lost loved ones during the A Time for Angels service of remembrance at St. Olaf Lutheran Church on Sunday afternoon.

Dozens of Fort Dodge area families came together with a shared grief Sunday afternoon for A Time for Angels service of remembrance at St. Olaf Lutheran Church.

A Time for Angels is an annual service hosted by Gunderson Funeral Home for area families to mourn and remember loved ones they’ve lost over the past year. This is the 21st year the service has been held.

The winter holiday season is often a tough one for those who have lost loved ones, said Phil Gunderson, owner of Gunderson Funeral Home. Because of this, the funeral home decided to host this service of remembrance to help them through this time.

“Simply defined, angels are messengers and guardians of God’s presence,” Gunderson told the guests at the service. “Angels are messengers of comfort, of joy, of courage and hope. They are also messengers of blessings and freedom. … The presence of angels is especially evident during the Christmas season where we prepare for celebrating the birth of Christ.”

A series of five candles were lit while guests held illuminated electric votive candles. The candles represented the loss of different loved ones – children; parents and grandparents; brothers and sisters; soulmates and companions; and other special persons.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Candles are lit in memory of lost loved ones during the A Time for Angels service of remembrance at St. Olaf Lutheran Church on Sunday afternoon.

Monsignor Kevin McCoy, from Holy Trinity Catholic Parish, and Rev. Dan Kahl, of Grace Lutheran Church, delivered scripture messages of faith, hope and love in the face of grief.

“We grieve, we are lonely, but the journey continues,” Kahl said.

As the names of hundreds of lost loved ones from over the past year were read, Gunderson Funeral Home staff handed out handmade angel keepsake ornaments. The angel ornaments are handmade by Chris Jondle and have a new design every year.

Connie Umbaugh, of Jewell, attended the service with her sister.

“My father and my mother both passed away two years ago, and I just wanted to remember them at this time,” she said.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Guests hold illuminated electric votive candles during the A Time for Angels service of remembrance at St. Olaf Lutheran Church on Sunday afternoon.

Following the service, guests were invited to join in the fellowship hall for refreshments and to purchase additional angel ornaments. Angel ornaments will also be available at Gunderson Funeral Home, 1615 N. 15th St., for $15.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Monsignor Kevin McCoy delivers a scripture message during the A Time for Angels remembrance service at St. Olaf Lutheran Church on Sunday afternoon.

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