Interfaith Memorial Honours Overdose Victims
Vancouver – Hundreds of people affected by B.C.’s overdose crisis will gather to mourn and honour victims Thursday evening at an interfaith vigil for families, friends and overwhelmed frontline workers.
“People are dying and their friends and family don’t have a decent place to grieve and mourn,” says Dean Peter Elliott of Christ Church Cathedral. “We want to change that. We want to bring this crisis further out of the shadows into the clear light of day.”
Eight organizations are planning Thursday’s memorial, which will offer mourners a safe place to light candles, pray, grieve and celebrate the loved ones they’ve lost. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, First Nations and other groups will join first responders and frontline workers at the event, meant to be a supportive place for those who face the crisis every day.
“Frontline staff is feeling overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the crisis,” says St. Paul’s Hospital Interim Social Work Site Lead and event co-organizer Meghan McMenamie. “We need to gather and acknowledge the toll this is taking and find a way through this.”
Organizers note the fentanyl crisis has impacted every corner of society – from recreational users to middle class families to those struggling with poverty in the Downtown Eastside. Elliott hopes the vigil will help address that stigma and encourage Metro Vancouver to respond with “as much compassion and humanity as possible”.
DATE: Thursday, May 18th
1:30 – 4:45 Private space for prayer and mourning (Closed to Media)
4:45 – Media availability with Dean Peter Elliott
5:30 – 7:00 Interfaith Memorial Service (Open to Media)
WHERE: Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard Street, Vancouver
NOTE: Media are asked to RSVP before arrival
Union Gospel Mission Public Relations
Cell: (604) 996-1417
Organizing Committee Members include Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society, Jewish Addiction Community Services, Union Gospel Mission, Christ Church Cathedral, Providence Health Care, Archdiocese of Vancouver, Tenth Church and St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church. Religious leaders from Vancouver’s Buddhist and Sikh communities will also speak during the public memorial.
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