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Author Topic: The Chapel of Hope (Photos Added!)  (Read 5701 times)

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Offline AlanBama

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  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
The Chapel of Hope (Photos Added!)
« on: August 23, 2006, 04:26:22 PM »
I would like to extend my appreciation to all of you for attending
our memorial service at the Chapel of Hope last Friday morning.
Many thanks to Yves Cote and his partner, Louis Poulin for their
assistance to Jan and me in preparing this ceremony.

For those not at AMG 06 who are interested to know about the
service, we began by forming a circle with all members present.
A votive candle was burning on the altar in loving memory of James
(gecko31), forums member who died this past year, and he was the
'missing man' in our Circle of Light; it was James's flame that I took to
begin the passing of the light.  When our circle was completely around
to the last person, Jan, who was voted to light the AIDS memorial candle
we left burning in the Chapel, she read this poem that she wrote:

We count the days since they have gone
and as families try to carry on
friends unite in asking why
sometimes we have to say goodbye
 
True friends are rare and as one departs
it leaves a mark upon our hearts
That's vast and deep and stretches wide
and goes beyond the tears we've cried
Surrounding us with love it seems
the remnants of our living dreams
 
For all they did and all they said
they walked with us one step ahead
arriving first to pave the way
knowing we'll meet again someday
 
So gathered here today we came
to pay tribute to your name
and as a family we stand proud and tall
as we light this candle to you all.

 
Then, one by one, we extinguished our individual flames,
leaving only the large memorial candle burning, the culmination
of all our individual candle flames united as one.

I said the following prayer:

I believe in the eternal Goodness, the eternal loving-kindness, and
the eternal givingness of Life to all.

I offer up these prayers to the Universe on behalf of this family:

a prayer of thanksgiving  -- that we have all been united in fellowship
a prayer of mourning that we may honor those who have gone before us
a prayer of hope  -- that we may all live our lives richly and in good health
a prayer of friendship that our hearts and minds are open to give and receive love
a prayer of celebration that we honor our diversity as well as our common bonds
a prayer of empowerment that we may have the strength and wisdom to fulfill our destinies
Dear Father/Mother God, behold, visit and relieve all persons with HIV/AIDS; give the power of healing to those who remember and care for them and to those who seek a cure; strengthen the weak, encourage those who fear, and comfort those who mourn; that our sickness may be turned into health and our sorrow into joy.
Let us now go in peace, with our love as the bond that forever strengthens us.


We then unveiled the plaque donated by me, Rocky and Jan as a lasting tribute
to those of us who were present this day.   It is red and white, has an AIDS ribbon at the top of it, and it reads as follows:

AMG 06
AIDSmeds Family
The Circle of Light
18 August 2006


Yves was kind enough to take photographs during the ceremony, and he has
emailed them to me.  I will ask Bailey to help me post those so that you
can see them.

This was a very moving experience for me, and again, I thank all of you who
participated.

With love,

Alan




 



[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 02:57:59 PM by AlanBama »
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2006, 05:01:53 PM »
Thank you Alan for posting this.

I welled up - unexpectedly - when I read that James was your 'missing man' in the circle of light. It brought all the emotion flooding back - it was one year ago when he and I were exchanging our last emails. I miss him terribly. I find comfort in the fact that you remembered him - thank you so much for giving me that small comfort. James was special to me and I will never forget him. Thank you for honouring his memory.

Ann
xxx
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Lis

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2006, 05:02:41 PM »
that is so beautiful... thank you for sharing the love!!!

lisbeth
poz 1986....

Offline livingpositively

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2006, 05:50:04 PM »
Alan,

You and Jan put together a beautiful experience at the Chapel of Hope.  It came absolutely from the wonderful heart of each of you.  I can't think of any two better people to have done that.

Many heartfelt thanks to you both

Love you

Shane
4/6/07   CD4 450, % 23, No VL
2/19/07 CD4 487, % 26, VL 47,500
1/4/07   CD4 357, % 27, No VL
10/3/06 CD4 500, % 26, VL 18,000
7/6/06   CD4 530, % 29, VL 83,800
4/6/06   CD4 555, % 28, VL 13,000

Offline heartforyou

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  • I must be a survivor in many ways...
Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2006, 05:56:16 PM »
Alan , Rocky and Jan,

Thank you so much for the touching words.

It released my tears in the chappel and I am crying here now at the tought of so many loved ones we all lost.

I want to pay tribute to my 150 colleagues flightattendants of Lufthansa, lost to AIDS over the years.

Alan, yes, I know

WHY THEM, WHY NOT US ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Hermie
« Last Edit: August 24, 2006, 05:45:36 PM by heartforyou »
Diagnosed in 1987 and still kicking
Viread, Kivexa (Epzicom),Viramune once daily

Happiness is the freedom of breathing fresh air every day.

Offline aztecan

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  • Posts: 5,382
  • 29 years positive, 56 years a pain in the butt
Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2006, 08:36:02 PM »
I find it hard to put into words what the Circle of Light meant to me.

It was incredibly moving while, at the same time, incredibly empowering.

By casting this circle, we rekindled the memories of lives we have known, now lost to us.

It also created a bond among us I will carry with me from this time forward.

Thank you Alan, Jan and Rocky, for creating such a special moment of life for me.

HUGS,

Mark

I blinked and didn't mention that James (Gecko) and I communicated just a few days before his death. Knowing that he was there in spirit made the event all the more powerful for me.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2006, 09:44:03 AM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

poznoregon

  • Guest
Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2006, 09:39:38 PM »
Wow, sounds like such a powerful and very touching event.  Sounds like you, Jan and Rocky put great effort into this.

Doug

Offline The Canuck

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2006, 11:26:36 PM »
Alan, Jan and Rocky certainly did a great job and the '' Circle of Light '' was indeed a very touching event. I was really moved when I heard James (Gecko31) was the '' missing man '', and yet completely part of the whole event. It was a nice gesture to have included him and moved me very much.

Yves & Louis were real gentleman and really enjoyed my little conversation with them after the event. I can tell you they were more than impressed by our visit to the Chapel and what we did there.

A very sincere thank you to Alan, Jan and Rocky for this, and also a special mention to Ernie for having done a perfect translation of the French transcription in the Chapel into English.

Regards,

The Canuck


Offline Moffie65

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  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2006, 09:26:52 AM »
Alan,

How generous of you to place this here.  Unfortunately, I still cannot finish it without tears welling up.  I guess our emotions are inexplicably connected to one another for life now, and that is one hell-of-a good feeling.  Thanks for the walk down memory lane.  While the ceremony was going on, I got this flashback to Toronto last year, and this seemed so much of an extension of that first memory walk, and the time seperating the two seemed like just a day or two. 

Truly, this was an "All Faiths" event, held in a Sanctuary that reflected "Love" and "Caring", rather than the coolness that I have experienced in so many other "Holy Buildings" that I have entered in the span of my life.  This was truly a highlight, and to have the Priest and his partner in attendence, along with their new puppy, just seemed to "make it so very right"!

Once again, I look forward to the re-gathering of this very special and blessed group of very fine people.

In Love.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Razorbill

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2006, 09:33:36 AM »
I was so impressed and moved by the ceremony and by the placing of a plaque in the chapel.  I was equally impressed to walk into a church and see the rainbow banner so prominently placed in the ceiling.  it floated in the vault of the heavens along with the angels and saints - and seemed to belong there.  It was an honor to be part of the circle, one I will never forget.

Offline Trish

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2006, 10:46:10 AM »
Dearest Alan & Sweet Dame Jan & Rockin' Rocky,

Words cannot express the emotions I felt during the "Circle of Light" ceremony.  The beauty of it all is MUCH MORE than I can explain.  As I looked around at each and every face, all filled with teary eyes, I couldn't help but feel more love and compassion for any group of people than ever before.  My spirit was lifted and I remembered my husband, Larry... I felt a sense of letting him go and allowing him to rest in peace, but I will never forget him.  And it was only that very week on Monday that I finally released his ashes in the waters off of Brooklyn, NY under the Verrazano Bridge just as he requested in his last days 17 years ago, as well as scattering some of them under the Brooklyn Bridge just off of Manhattan from my brother's boat.  I was freed at that moment on the boat, just as I was freed at the Chapel of Hope thanks to you guys.  I'll never forget that day and the feelings I have witnessed.  Thanks for giving me life, love and a sense of belonging with people I will carry in my heart for eternity.

All my love,

Trish :-* :-* :-*
"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is buit."  Eleanor Roosevelt

Online Joe K

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2006, 04:10:17 PM »
Dearest Alan, Jan and Rocky,

Thank you for this very special event because it was created by your caring spirits.  Somehow you transcended the loss of so many by encompassing the present... not an easy thing to do, but so well executed by Jan and Alan.  I knew how much this meant to both of them as I witnessed their nervousness the night before and day of the event.  Even through the jitters, you could see and feel the love that was poured into this special ceremony and the quivers in their voices, as they spoke, were just beautiful.  Their tender words led us through an intense acknowledgement of the true costs of HIV, our anguish was overshadowed by our celebration of life... surrounded by all of you and the spirits of these forums.

You took me back to a time, that I try and forget, but somehow with your words by my side, I was able to walk safely among those memories, while cherishing the love of all of us gathered there.

You can never go wrong speaking from your heart and for all of my lost loved ones, I thank you all for this most precious gift.


Offline Andy Velez

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2006, 04:27:20 PM »
Alan, you're much more than the "birthday guy." You and Jan are "Life People."

I am sorry I wasn't able to come up to Montreal sooner and to be there with you all. Thanks for posting this. I love that what you created is a lasting tribute to all who were there which is a celebration of life.

Thanks and love to both of you who are so  loving and generous.

Andy Velez

Offline Jody

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2006, 04:29:37 PM »
Dear Alan, Jan and Rocky...Thanks so much for the time you took to put together a lovely ceremony that was truly touching...When we all passed our lit candles to the next person there was a sense of belonging we don't get every day...It was a time to remember all those we have lost so damned prematurely and yet a celebration that we are fortunate enough to still be here today.  On my last day in Montreal I walked by that church again and I will never forget that day !!!

Jody  
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline joemutt

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2006, 04:38:29 AM »
Thank You Alan, it's a very beautiful post. :-*

Offline AlanBama

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Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2006, 02:04:58 PM »
The Chapel of Hope



Jan reading her poem / The Circle of Light



Trish signs the guest register / Plaque is visible here

« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 02:07:09 PM by AlanBama »
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline AlanBama

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  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2006, 02:20:49 PM »
Danny with our "mascot", Yves' and Louis' puppy



The Circle of Light



Unveiling the Plaque

"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Dan J.

  • Guest
Re: The Chapel of Hope
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2006, 02:27:56 PM »
The service at the church was one of the most moving experiences I have had in my life. I was telling my friend Michael about it last night and the tears began to flow all over again.  I am crying now as I post my reply in this thread.   I am honored that I had the chance to experience this with each and every one of you.  Of  all the group events this one moment will stand out for me .

Dan
« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 02:30:05 PM by Dan J. »

Offline joemutt

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Re: The Chapel of Hope (Photos Added!)
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2006, 04:05:15 AM »
I wasn't there but this thread and the pictures make me realise how beautiful and meaningful and moving  :'(  the meeting must have been,
Thank you on behalf of those of us who weren't able to attend.  :-*

Offline Jeffreyj

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Re: The Chapel of Hope (Photos Added!)
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2006, 04:18:44 AM »
I found this thread very beautiful...It touched my heart. Thank you for sharing.
Positive since 1985

Offline RAB

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Re: The Chapel of Hope (Photos Added!)
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2006, 10:33:49 AM »
Alan

The pictures are wonderful and remind me of just how moving and special the visit to Hope Chapel truly was.  For those who were not able to be with us that morning, or who made a personal decision to not join us, these photos can provide a glimpse into the powerful and moving service you and Jan worked so hard on.

With love, respect, and deep appreciation of your efforts,

RAB

Offline Markmt

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Re: The Chapel of Hope (Photos Added!)
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2006, 05:31:42 PM »
Alan thankyou for sharing the pictures and this special moment. I got lots of reading and catching up to do.... it all reads so wonderful.
"Live to love and love to live."

Leo Buscaglia

Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: The Chapel of Hope (Photos Added!)
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2006, 03:05:08 AM »
Thank you for sharing this with everyone, Alan.
I read this thread with a huge lump in my throat and goose bumps all over me.
It's encouraging to know there are so many good souls in this difficult world.
I wasn't there but wish I had been. Next time...

Melia
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(=' . '=)    (=' . '=)
(,,,_ ,,,)/   (,,,_ ,,,)/ Cats rule!

The difference between cats and dogs is that dogs come when called, whereas cats take a message and get back to you.

Yeia kai hara (health and happiness) to everyone!

 


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