Service for people with the Christmas blues

This Is Lancashire: Minister Stephen Lingwood Minister Stephen Lingwood

THOSE feeling sad in the run up to Christmas had their feelings acknowledged at a Blue Christmas service.

Bank Street Unitarian Chapel in the town centre invited people feeling pressured to have a picture-perfect Christmas and those under the weather to attend a service named “Blue Christmas”.

It involved no carol singing and was a time to acknowledge mixed feelings about Christmas.

Minister Stephen Lingwood said: “It is close to Christmas and for all of us this raises mixed emotions. It is a cliché to say that this time is difficult but it is.

“Some of us have lost family members. Some of us have relationships that are crumbling, or marriages or partnerships that have broken. And they say this is a time for families.

“Around us are signs of wealth and everyone seems to be spending, yet we have no money. Debt cripples us and we see no end to it, but others want us to join in.

“For some of us work is a memory or we have been put out of work at just the wrong time, if there is a right time.

“And how can we celebrate when we are waiting for the results of medical tests, feeling unwell or know that we are terminally ill?”

People at the service were encouraged to light candles in memory of loved ones and write down their feelings on a piece of paper and then shred the paper.

Music fitting of the service was played including Moby’s Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad and U2’s Peace on Earth.

A man, who attended the service but asked not to be named, said: “It is the first time I have been to the Blue Christmas service.

“There are some people who are glad when it is all over. I really feel for people who are alone over Christmas.”

Mr Lingwood said the message of Christmas often gets forgotten.

He has held the service for the past three years and said people feel comforted by the alternative service.

It is thought to be the only service of its kind in Bolton but similar services take place elsewhere. It took place yesterday morning.

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