Advent Day 20: Church members invited to send messages of hope to bereaved children

Children's bereavement charity Richmond's Hope is asking Church of Scotland members to send in supportive messages for the young people they are working with.

Advent logo and an image of paper doves with messages on them

The service, which was founded in 2003 at Richmond Craigmillar Parish Church in Edinburgh, aims to support children to live well with their grief and help them to express their emotions through therapeutic play in a safe environment.

This Advent you are invited to print out a sheet of dove templates and write a message of hope which will then be used to decorate the premises of Richmond's Hope.

Rev Liz Henderson, who co-founded the charity in 2003, said: "Richmond's Hope supports bereaved children and young people aged 4-18, many of whom who have experienced extremely challenging situations in their young lives.

"In a safe space with a bereavement worker beside them, these young people stare straight into the darkness that death has brought into their lives.

"That's hard and painful but that's the nature of grief.

"Richmond's Hope knows that you can't take away the sadness but that it's possible to be in a place where the darkness doesn't overwhelm.

"The light and the joy comes in seeing so many children live well with their grief and living lives that are bright and hopeful."

Around one in 29 children and young people in Scotland are bereaved of a parent or sibling.

Jack, who was five when her mother died, explains how she has used Richmond's Hope over the years.

"After this I went to stay with my Nana and Grandad," she said.

"Feeling very confused and scared about what had happened, I was referred to Richmond's Hope two years' later at the age of seven.

"Having space with my support worker allowed me to do activities to remember my Mum and help my understanding.

"Even though I'm older, I always know that I've got someone to talk to at Richmond's Hope.

"Without them I don't know where I'd be, if I'd be able to cope or go to my Mum's grave to take flowers up.

"Richmond's Hope have helped me to remember the best memories and good times, cope with my feelings and feel positive about my future."

Rev Dr Martin Scott, who is the chief executive of Richmond's Hope, said: "Advent is a season which gives us the opportunity to centre our thoughts on hope, grounded in the good news of Jesus coming into the world.

"It is a chance to shift focus from the stresses of the past year and look for the signs of hope around us.

"For me, the work of Richmond's Hope is one of those signs."

How to take part

Download a template.

Please return completed messages to:
Richmond's Hope
Richmond Craigmillar Church
227 Niddrie Mains Rd
EH16 4PA

Donate to Richmond's Hope

Sign up for this year's calendar

Light in the Darkness is the theme of the Church of Scotland's 2021 Advent calendar.

We invite you to sign up for a daily email or check our online Advent calendar for some daily inspiration.

Throughout the season, we'll bring you stories, videos and prayers that highlight how church members around the country are celebrating the birth of Jesus and sharing their faith, hope and love with everyone in their communities.

Follow along with this year's Light in the Darkness Advent calendar.