Understanding and supporting each resident’s cultural background and religious beliefs are fundamental to the complete care we offer. The Homes hold monthly religious services and we help residents to attend local places of worship if they wish to. The Starlight Service is a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together in celebration of our loved ones. Here our good friend, Reverend Helen Hancock, who leads the service at St Matthew’s and those in the Surbiton Home, tells us what it means to her.
As Team Rector, I am delighted that the Home at Surbiton just falls within the parish of St Matthew’s which is part of the Tolworth Hook and Surbiton Team Ministry. When I take Holy Communion there each month, or a regular monthly Sunday afternoon service or one of the occasional or festival services I feel that the Home is an extension of the Parish – visible as the Church is from the roundabout just outside! I try to let the residents know what is happening in their local church – what the preaching themes are, what we’ve been doing, so that they feel part of a wider Christian community.
So, when the idea of a service for remembering past residents was suggested, I was really pleased that it was decided to hold it in St Matthew’s. We have a beautiful 1870’s building which, after the installation of heating earlier in the year, can now be made warm!
This year we are following the same pattern as last year for this ‘Starlight Service’, focusing on the theme of moving from darkness to light. That is such a powerful image, especially at this time of year and for those on a journey of grief. With dark afternoons and the difficulties which many face, we all need the encouragement of knowing that the light will come amidst any present darkness.
The service is held on the first Sunday of Advent and all can be remembered as stars are placed on a Christmas Tree in memory of loved ones. With its mixture of short Bible readings and poems interspersed with hymns, songs and inspirational quotations, we are gradually moved from darkness (pierced only by a single candle flame) to light and thankfulness – particularly once we can smell the mulled wine and mince pies for the after-service refreshments! Last year’s service was the first outing of the Star & Garter Singers, and this year we are looking forward to hearing more songs from this choir which unites residents, relatives, staff and volunteers.
Do join us on Sunday 3rd December at St Matthew’s Church, Surbiton. Doors open at 3:30 for a 4pm start.
Our Solihull Home will hold its Starlight Service on Saturday 2nd December at St Alpege’s Church, Solihull. Doors open at 3:30 for a 4pm start.
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