Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Giving 'Hope for the Holidays'

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Giving 'Hope for the Holidays'

Article excerpt

At long last, the deadliest year in Topeka's history is nearing an end.

By early December, the capital city had seen a record 29 homicides.

More than a number or statistic, each victim was a person who was loved and cherished by family members and friends.

For those directly affected by the killings, the holidays this year won't be the same.

Painful. Empty. Hollow.

But not the same.

Add to that other people who are grieving the loss of relatives and friends whose lives were lost in suicide or through other traumatic incidents this year, and the holidays become a time to be dreaded rather than anticipated.

Recognizing the pain and grief many people in Topeka are experiencing this year, New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 2801 S.E. Indiana Ave., is offering a special service titled "Hope for the Holidays" at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.

The service is geared for people who have had their lives interrupted by the tragic and sudden deaths of their loved ones, though anyone experiencing loss is welcome to attend.

"What we want to do is reach out to those in the community who have experienced traumatic loss by suicide or murder, and also those who have experienced loss through the death of a loved one or family member or friend," said the Rev. Delmar White, New Mount Zion's pastor. "We know that the holidays are stressful enough already. For some, they are made more difficult because they are coupled with dealing with the losses of loved ones.

"So we're trying to provide a space for people to be comfortable, to feel safe, to be able to express what they're going through."

White said trained grief counselors will be present at Saturday night's service to meet with attendees.

The Rev. Delmar White

Members of the Mothers of Murdered Sons -- or MOMS -- group also will be in attendance.

"We just wanted to minister to people and give them an opportunity to know there are some resources and, as the moniker says, 'hope for the holidays,'" White said. …

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