On the longest night of the year, local families will gather to find warmth, hope and healing at the 26th Annual Tree Lighting Memorial, hosted by Arthur Funeral Home –Barton & Kiteley Chapel.
The memorial tree lighting ceremony takes place each year on the night of the Winter Solstice, December 21st, signifying the start of a new period of growth and the promise of more daylight and better days ahead. It gives individuals and families the opportunity to honour and remember their loved ones during the often difficult holiday season.
The event began in 1996 with a tree planted at City Hall to memorialize those who had passed away. Each year at Christmastime, families could purchase bulbs to be placed on the tree in memory of their loved ones. In 2020 and again in 2021, the Tree Lighting Memorial ceremony expanded to include a virtual element due to COVID resrtrictions
We are pleased to announce that this year 2022 we will be hosting the event in our newly renovated event space at Arthur Funeral Home – Barton & Kiteley Chapel (492 Wellington St. E.).
Doors open at 6:30 and service will begin at 7 pm. Attendees at the tree lighting service will be entertained by local musicians ‘Wheelhouse’ including Matt Sibilo, Josh Norling, Jamie July and Clint Cudmore (funeral director at Arthur Funeral Home – Barton & Kiteley Chapel) while the Sault Ste. Marie Lions Club will assist with serving hot cider, along with finger foods courtesy of Reubaras Bistro & Catering. Mr. George Wright will officiate the ceremony, which will also be streamed via Funerawebtv.
The live streaming will provide an option for those who preferred to attend the Memorial Tree lighting at the traditional City Hall location. “We put a granite bench at City Hall, and it still sits beside the tree for people who choose to go there,” says Joni Cooke. “We again plan to light that tree this year, while we do our service – so people can view it, while streaming our ceremony.”
Over the years, many charities and community groups have benefited from the Arthur Funeral Home Tree Lighting Memorial. “Originally, all funds raised from the bulbs went to the Bereavement Group,” says Joni. “But once it dissolved, we started to choose charities each year. This year, we picked Pauline’s Place.”
Families can purchase ornaments created by Eternity’s Touch and customize them with their loved ones’ signature or fingerprint. Proceeds from the sale of the ornaments raised will go to Pauline’s Place, a local non-profit that provides access to safe, affordable housing for male youth ages 16-17, female youth ages 16-21, women, and families who are experiencing crisis and find themselves homeless. Please call or visit Arthur Funeral Home (705-759-2522) for further details or to purchase your keepsake ornament.
“The nice thing about offering community events like this, is that it gives people the opportunity to get together and know that they are not alone. Death is such a difficult time, and during the Christmas season it is particularly magnified.
If you are in need of grief support, call the Compassion Helpline at 1-866-649-9641. Certified grief counsellors are available to provide specialized support 24/7.
Bereavement materials are also available at Arthur Funeral Home, 492 Wellington Street East in Sault Ste. Marie.