First Blue Christmas Service at St John's Cathedral

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 4:40am

St John's Cathedral is to hold its first Blue Christmas Service this evening for those mourning a loss this festive season.

The cathedral's dean said Christmas could be an emotional time for people who are missing someone.

The Reverend Canon Matthias Der said: "We realise that at Christmas many people will go to parties and celebrations, but it is also an emotional time when we miss those we have lost.

"It can also mean a broader sense of loss - loss of a job or health, but largely it is seen as a service for those who have suffered a bereavement."

The hour-long service, which starts at 6pm, will have readings of the scriptures, some carols, but also moments of silence "and times when will invite people to come forward to light a candle".

Der said: "The church recognises that this is a time of year when people can become quite sad. Hopefully this service proves them with a sense of hope, a sense of peace."

Der was unsure of the origins of the Blue Christmas Service, but said the idea was widespread across North America. "It is usually called the Christmas memorial service and has become more and more common," he said.

Der, who was born in Hong Kong but returned to the city this year after 31 years in Canada, said: "We hope that people can express their grief as part of the healing process.

"In this world we are not good at dealing with grief and there may be a sadness in us that has been lingering for years.

"Sadness is seen in some cultures as a sign of weakness - so sometimes we are not very good at expressing our grief and accepting a loved one has gone," he said.