In West Virginia, 2,775 residents have died of COVID-19, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources. On Sunday, Suncrest United Methodist Church honored those who lost their lives, as well as the many who stepped up during the pandemic, with an evening service.
“We wanted to remember the folks who have died and also to give thanks for folks who have helped get us through the past 14 months or so,” said the Rev. Michael Estep. “And with the nature of COVID, we haven’t been able to be together with those who were in the midst of passing or those grieving, and wanted to offer a safe gathering to grieve and remember and offer support and give thanks and pray.”
With the help of area Scout troops, a white flag was placed to represent each of those who have died. There was also a candle-light ceremony, “as a sign of grieving and hope to be a part of healing,” Estep said.
He estimated between 50 and 70 attended the Sunday service.
“We had some folks, including myself — I’ve lost four pastoral colleagues to COVID — where the loss was personal,” Estep said. “They came to remember a specific loved one. We had some folks who were leaders in the community, civic leaders, who had to manage us through. And we had people from the health care community and the education community, that this has been particularly stressful for. And we were able to be with each other, offering support.”