LAURINBURG — Hundreds of recently deceased area residents were remembered Thursday night as their loved ones gathered for a candlelight vigil.
The Northview Harvest Ministries sanctuary was standing room only for Hospice of Scotland County’s annual memorial service. Hospice staff members read aloud the names of the 350 people it assisted in their final days since November 2012 as members of the audience stepped forward to light candles in memory of their lost mothers, fathers, uncles, grandmothers, and friends.
The service’s featured speaker, the Rev. James Merkel of Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Fayetteville, recalled his own father’s passing and the comfort provided by Hospice. He also drew inspiration from a wartime statement made by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
“Death is not the end, death is not even the beginning of the end, but it is for certain the end of the beginning,” Merkel said. “When we close our eyes in death in this life, we open them in eternity. These bodies that we have may die, but our immortal spirits will live on eternally.”
The service featured several musical selections: Just Reaching Jesus Christ performing “It Is Well With My Sou,” Pennie Thomas singing “Light a Candle,” and Stuart Carmichael performing “Remember Me.”
The reading of names and candle lighting were preceded by a special memorial lighting for Bradley Bethel, who served as Hospice medical director before his death in July. The service ended with a blessing by the Rev. Warren Jones of Judah International Ministries of all who have seen the death of a family member.