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“Longest Night" National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service in Madison December 21

Houseless individuals, members of local faith communities and representatives from social service agencies, as well as the general public will gather at 3:00 pm on Thursday December 21st, the longest night of the year and the first day of winter, to remember and honor people who died without shelter in Dane County and elsewhere this year. The event, the Longest Night Homeless persons’ Memorial Service marks the eighth such event in Madison. Nationally the event has been commemorated annually since 1990 and brings attention to the growing tragedy of homelessness across the country. The service reminds us that every year members of our community, brothers and sisters, sons, fathers, husbands, wives, and children die while they are homeless. Too often, their deaths are invisible; there is no obituary, no funeral. The Longest Night Service is an opportunity to remember, honor, celebrate, and mourn the passing of those in our community who have died. At a time when many of us are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we pause to remember our brothers and sisters who also can find no room at the inn. This service is an opportunity to ensure that every life is celebrated and remembered, that no one’s death among us goes unnoticed. The Service will include music, prayer, reflections, and remembrances of our neighbors who have died this year and who were homeless. At 4:00 pm, there will be a light soup and bread meal provided at First United Methodist Church, and at 5:00 p.m. there will be an interfaith service of light and remembrance. Participating in Services will be Rev. Eldonna Hazen, First Congregational United Church of Christ; Rev. Lex Libertore of Lake Edge United Church of Christ; as well as representatives from Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM), and other local faith communities.

The event will begin at 3:00 pm on the Capitol Square at the intersection of East Main/South Pinckney and King Streets, by the marble bench where Dwayne Warren’s body was found on June 26th, 2009. Once again we will have a horse-drawn hearse lead a procession around the Capitol before proceeding to First United Methodist Church for a meal and interfaith service. Individuals who would like to add a name to the list of those to be remembered can do so by calling Linda Ketchum at Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM) at 608-256-0906 or 608-206-6302 or names can be emailed to: linda@emum.org.

Individuals who would like to drop donations of warm socks, long underwear, hats, and gloves for distribution to individuals who are without a home can do so by dropping them off on December 21st between 9:00 am and the time of the 5:00 pm interfaith service at First United Methodist Church.