Worldwide Candle Lighting in Memory of Children Unites Bereavement World Over Weekend

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Dozens of bereavement organizations and groups joined together for The Compassionate Friends eighth annual Worldwide Candle Lighting last Sunday. Candle lightings were held around the world in memory of all children who have died no matter the age, religion, or ethnic background.

The bereavement community united together Sunday, December 12 around the world and most especially in the United States as hundreds of formal services were held during the annual Worldwide Candle Lighting sponsored by The Compassionate Friends, a self-help nonprofit support organization for bereaved families following the death of a child.

“All indications are that the eighth Worldwide Candle Lighting marked a tremendous milestone as dozens of different organizations and groups that help bereaved families after a child has died held services throughout the country,” says Wayne Loder, Public Awareness Coordinator of The Compassionate Friends, USA. “Our analysis of the information shows that there were several hundred memorial services held in the United States alone, along with many in other countries.”

According to Loder there were services held in 49 of 50 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. “We received information, which we posted on our national website, of services being held by bereavement groups, hospices, hospitals, funeral homes, churches, schools, and even individuals who planned a service and invited the public. We saw over a 40 percent increase compared to 2003 worldwide candle lightings held in the states and a 100 percent increase in candle lighting services compared with 2002.

“We’re also convinced there were many more thousands of informal candle lightings held in homes with friends and family present,” says Loder. The Worldwide Candle Lighting is held the second Sunday in December for one hour at 7 p.m., local time, starting just west of the International Date Line, creating a virtual 24-hour wave of light around the globe.

“We were sent information on services held in Australia, Austria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Germany, Thailand, and the United Kingdom, as well as Puerto Rico,” adds Loder. “Other countries participated, but we didn’t receive specifics. Messages were sent to our online remembrance book from all parts of the United States as well as Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Israel, Kenya, New Zealand, Qatar, South Korea, and Switzerland.

“Any organization or group of people who share our wish to remember those children no longer with us is welcome to contact our National Office toll-free at 866-964-4000 and we will be happy to aid them in participating next year.”

The Compassionate Friends has chapters in all 50 United States plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico and has nearly 600 total chapters in the country, offering friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved families following the death of a child of any age from any cause. The organization has a presence in an estimated 29 countries around the world.

For information on a local chapter or for other means of support, call The Compassionate Friends toll-free at 877-969-0010 or visit The Compassionate Friends national website at

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Wayne Loder
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