Tree of Love shines as beacon of light in the darkness

PALMER RAPIDS – As suggested in a moment of prayer at the official lighting ceremony, the warmth radiating from the lights on the Tree of Love symbolized love for those who are special in our present and past lives.

Carrying on a yearly tradition for its 11th year, the Palmer Rapids and Area Lions Club sponsored the Tree of Love’s annual tree-lighting ceremony on the evening of December 9, at the Palmer Rapids Community Centre.
The fundraiser, which is similar to the Barry’s Bay’s Tree of Lights, is about purchasing a card for $5 which is then filled out In Memory of and/or In honour of  someone, and then posted on a decorated wall in the Palmer Rapids Community Centre. All proceeds go to the St. Francis Memorial Hospital Foundation (SFMHF) in Barry’s Bay.
Kelly Klinck, president of the Palmer Rapids and Area Lions, welcomed everyone gathered outside the centre and invited the crowd to sing together O’ Canada. Pastor Adam Snook, of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, was called to offer a prayer of blessing on the occasion.
“May the lights of this tree shine as a beacon of hope amidst the dark night. May they sparkle in memory of those we love both near and far, and may they remind us of the true joy and hope born into the world at Christmas,” Snook said.
Klinck then thanked those for coming out for the yearly celebration.
“We really, really appreciate the fact that you stand behind what we do, that you come out with us every year and celebrate this, and enjoy an evening of festivities and fellowship,” Klinck said.
Following the official lighting, the crowds went inside to partake in the entertainment and treats which is the Palmer Rapids and Area Lions Club’s way of saying thanks to the community for their generous donations.
Musical performances included lots of singing, including The Cyr family, St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church Choir and even a spontaneous group of four young girls, who came forward to sing an Australian version of Jingle Bells, a song they have been practicing for their upcoming school Christmas concert.
Story continues in the December 19, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.