Arise (Silver Spring, Md.) members honored Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month by holding a commemorative event to foster a way for couples to find hope amidst the loss.
“We’re a pretty close congregation,” said Sylvia Urrutia, member, “so we’re often aware of what is going on in each other’s lives. Several of the couples, including myself and my husband, have had miscarriages. We began to realize how common this was – one in four pregnancies. It’s a big loss and we wanted to find ways to heal.”
Several months before, two guest speakers shared their testimony of the miscarriage they experienced. “They shared their story, but also the promises they felt like God had given them,” said Urrutia. “Their message was encouraging and concentrated on how God allows things to happen and on hope and restoration.”
At the service, couples shared their experiences and the same guest speakers from several months prior came back to encourage and share their story more in-depth. One husband shared a poem he had written shortly after he and his wife experienced a miscarriage. Toward the end, couples wrote heartfelt messages on a card, tied it to a candle and lit the wick in remembrance of the infant and in faith of God’s promises.
“It was a beautiful ceremony,” said Sylvia. “Even though that child wasn’t born, it was still a life that needs to be acknowledged. I think this ceremony helped people feel like they could begin a bigger journey of healing. I think we all felt support and drew closer by being able to share our own experiences.” Urrutia says the church is planning on making this an annual event and inviting the surrounding community to participate.
Photos by Oscar Garzon