Gifts made ‘in memory’, as a tribute to a loved one who is no longer with us, are particularly special, and the stories especially touching. Such gifts are really an expression of the love felt for that person and are a positive and hopeful way to keep their love alive and have an ongoing impact on the world.
When I talked with John Davies, who lost his mum Marjorie in April, he explained that giving a gift in his mum’s memory was for him a very meaningful way to remember her. Marjorie was a dedicated Christian Aid Week collector for many years, and as a child, John loved to go door to door with her, collecting envelopes. He described his mum as being kind and thoughtful and donating to Christian Aid in her memory is helping to keep her generosity alive. He thinks his mum would be really pleased about this.
Over these past 18 months gifts in tribute of a loved one’s memory have become even more poignant. We have all been through such challenging times, especially those of us who have lost someone. Many of us, through lockdowns and restrictions, have been unable to attend funerals, or have had to watch a funeral service online, unable to grieve alongside family, friends and communities. It comes as no surprise to learn that the University of Aberdeen has embarked on a study (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council) to see how the pandemic has impacted funerals from the point of view of both those organising them and those attending. So many aspects of our lives have changed beyond recognition.
In many ways the ‘online community’ has filled a void and enabled togetherness and an opportunity to remember. In years gone by Christian Aid’s annual Service of Reflection took place in an intimate chapel at Kings College, London. This year, for the second time, the Service of Reflection will be online. With an address by Christian Aid’s Chair Dr Rowan Williams, the service will be a time to come together in a moment of comfort and solidarity to reflect on the challenges we have all faced, and to remember loved ones we have lost.
The Reverend Maggie Roderick, a Church of Scotland Minister in Stirling, is also taking part in the Service of Reflection. For her the service offers an important opportunity to simply pause and create some space to remember.
“I have been touched by grief at various points in my life,” she said. “We can feel utterly submerged and lost. Covid-19 restrictions have meant many people feel they have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones. They’ve had to grieve differently. As a long-term supporter of Christian Aid I’m delighted to take part in this service on the 2nd November. It will allow a time for reflection and simply some space to remember. That’s really important.”
To find out more and join our Service of Reflection on 2 November 2021, visit caid.org.uk/reflection (please register before the 17 October if you wish the name of the person you are remembering to appear on screen during the service).
To give a gift in memory of a loved one visit caid.org.uk/inmemory
Gill Blake, Christian Aid Legacy and In Memory Officer