First 'Blue Christmas' church service to be held in Grantham
While Christmas is a time of great joy for many people in Grantham, the festive season can also bring tremendous heartache for others.
So this year, for the first time in the town, a special 'Blue Christmas' church service is being held for those who are not feeling so merry at yuletide - giving them an opportunity for quiet reflection, support and to share their problems.
Anyone who is struggling in the lead-up to Christmas - whether through bereavement, ill health, redundancy, the breakdown of a relationship or financial hardship - is invited to attend the service at St Wulfram's Church.
Rev Jane Campbell, of Grantham's ChristChurch, suggested holding the service, which she will lead with Rev June Rowland, from St Wulfram's.
Rev Campbell said: "There are many reasons why people may find it difficult to join in the celebrations at this time of year.
"Perhaps they have lost their job and are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
"Maybe they are mourning the loss of a loved one during the past year, are facing health problems, or are trying to cope with the break-up of a relationship.
"Whatever the reason, Christmas can be a sad and painful time for many people and we want to acknowledge that through this service.
"We suspect a lot of people will come on their own and we hope they will gain a little bit of strength to help them face the festive season."
The service will feature readings and reflections, but not a sermon. And there will be a traditional carol and a song which has been specially-written for services of this kind.
Rev Rowland, who is a chaplain at Grantham Hospital and sees first-hand how hard it can be for some people at this time of year, said: "This will be a quiet service with time to light candles as we remember loved ones or difficult situations that have caused pain over this last year.
"We hope people will find hope and comfort in knowing that they are not alone."
Refreshments will be served at the end of the service and those attending will be offered a sympathetic ear and the opportunity to share their problems with Rev Campbell or Rev Rowland if they wish.
The 'Blue Christmas' service is being held on Wednesday, December 5th, starting at 7pm.