Remembering ‘angels’

Special service honors loved ones lost

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Monsignor Kevin McCoy reads a passage of scripture during the A Time For Angels remembrance service at St. Olaf Lutheran Church on Sunday afternoon. Gunderson Funeral Home hosts the service each year in memory of those who have died in the previous year.

The holidays can be a hard time when you’ve lost someone you love. That’s why Gunderson Funeral Home hosts A Time For Angels each December, to honor those we’ve lost in the last year.

The remembrance service was held Sunday at St. Olaf Lutheran Church, with the Rev. Emily Sauer and Monsignor Kevin McCoy, of Holy Trinity Parish, reading the messages.

“Generally speaking, Advent is truly a time of expected joy and hope,” said McCoy. “But for so many others, this season’s joy is tempered somewhat by the loss of a loved one.”

McCoy read a passage from the Gospel of St. John, reminding those in the sanctuary that “Christ was born so that we may be reborn,” and that death, though it may sting, is not permanent.

Sauer read from the book of Matthew and gave a nod to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on everyone’s lives.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
The Rev. Emily Sauer reads a message during the A Time for Angels service at St. Olaf Lutheran Church, hosted by Gunderson Funeral Home on Sunday afternoon.

“COVID-19 has brought so much grief into our world,” she said. “Many of you have lost loved ones to this virus.”

This has been a very difficult time for everyone, she said.

“We are all tired and weary, and God sees that,” Sauer continued.

Echoing McCoy’s message, Sauer highlighted that through faith in God, death is not permanent.

“Even though we will experience death on Earth, there is a future, so probably a better way to look at death is that it’s a setback, not the conclusion,” Sauer said. “After death, there is something more to come.”

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

Though deep wells of grief can overflow during the holidays, taking time to remember those we’ve loved and lost can bring some comfort as well, Sauer said.

“At Christmastime we remember our loved ones and their light that shines so bright from their heavenly home,” she said. “Who are you remembering today? What memories do you hold close to your heart? Do you remember their scent? How about the way they gave a hug?”

After the messages, Gunderson Funeral staff read the names of those in the area who have died over the past year. Dozens of names were read as other Gunderson staff handed out keepsake angels to the families.

Additional angels are available for purchase for $15 at Gunderson Funeral Home, 1615 N. 15th St.


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