Blue Christmas church services across Winnipeg support people grieving

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for many people, but it’s also the most challenging time of the year for people going through loss.

It’s been four years since Tina Holland’s husband died, but she still feels the loss, especially around the holiday season.

“It’s more and more lonely so I think more and more about the people I miss,” she said.

“I guess we have this artificial thing about having it so good. Everything is supposed to be happy, happy, happy and I think very few people feel really happy at Christmas.”

To help, churches are getting ready to host Blue Christmas services to help people coping with loss and sadness.

Soul Sanctuary pastor Gerry Michalski said the services are important for people who may not feel so merry and bright.

“Our culture takes Christmas and makes it a happy time and it’s not happy,” he said.

“I think it’s really important that people find that place of refuge. Where they can just be real and be raw … It’s for anyone. We’re not here to creepy stalk you, we’re not here to convert you. We’re here to open our doors and let you participate and let the words and music speak to you.”

Churches across Winnipeg are hosting services to help people going through a difficult time:

  • Westminster United Church: Service Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.
  • McClure United Church: Service Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.
  • St. Mary’s Road United Church: Service Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
  • Faith Lutheran Church: Service Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
  • St. Chad’s at Messiah Lutheran Church: Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Soul Sanctuary: Service Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
  • Faith Lutheran Church: Service Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
  • Fort Garry United Church: Service Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.
  • Young United Church: Service Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.

The Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba is also having group sessions over the holidays and they have volunteers available daily for people who need someone to talk to at 204-786-0987.

“We’re happy to talk to anyone that needs to reach out and that needs to say, ‘hey I’m lonely and I’m sad and this is challenging,’ and there will be someone there that can hear you,” executive director Tara Brousseau-Snider said.

People need to reach out when they need the help, she added.

“You really need to try and stay connected in some way so reach out to somebody whether it’s at Mood Disorders or a friend or a family member. I encourage everyone to talk and have that connection and attachment through this period.”

Where to get help

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868  all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.

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