International Day of Mourning Service

Medicine Hat Memorial Arboretum at foot of Sholten Hill

Medicine Hat Memorial Arboretum at foot of Sholten Hill


Today is the International Day of Mourning. So workers, families of workers, employers, employees, dignitaries and the media gather here for a brief Service. This year, I was the designated clergyperson. This was the reflection I shared with those who were in attendance.

Message for International Day of Mourning Service, Medicine Hat, April 28, 2014, based on Eccles 3:1-8. By Pastor Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson

The writer of Ecclesiastes said: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Today, April 28, is the time set aside for the International Day of Mourning. So today at this time and this place, we gather together to remember and honour those workers who lost their lives in the workplace along with their families—some of whom may be here today. We also remember and honour those workers who suffer from disabilities or life-threatening diseases because of workplace accidents or dangerous working conditions. Tragically far too many Albertans, Canadians, and workers around the world are killed because of work. Each one of those persons made a contribution to society as a whole; their fellow workers; their family and friends. So we take time today to remember them. They were beloved family members, siblings, respected co-workers, friends and neighbours in the community. Life is not the same without them—their deaths, disabilities and diseases affect not only family members, but society as a whole, if not directly, then indirectly. There is a time for everyone and everything in life. Hopefully we can all realize this truth and use our time to learn from tragic mistakes that have beenmade in the past; to improve the working conditions of workers everywhere; and to ensure that their safety is an integral priority in order that senseless deaths, injuries and diseases can be prevented. Since 1991, when the Government of Canada officially proclaimed the day as National Day of Mourning; and since 1996, when it became the International Day of Mourning and now many countries around the world participate in events like this; an ever-increasing number of people have become committed to using their time compassionately by remembering workers and their families; and using their time wisely by bringing about improvements and necessary changes in the workplace. Yes, God has ordained that for everything and everyone there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven—including the strengthening of everyone’s resolve to bring comfort to those who mourn. A right time to remember loved ones who are no longer with us. Time to speak for and build together a better, safer workplace environment for everyone. A proper time for workplace safety education and training in order that the workplace health and well-being is valued as a top priority. So, may we all be good stewards of the gift of time that God gives each one of us to bring about health, healing and wholeness for our community.

About dimlamp
I am, among other things, a sojourner, a sinner-saint, a baptized, life-long learner and follower of Jesus, and Lutheran pastor. Dim Lamp: gwh photos:

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