Totenfest is a word created by the Evangelical church when it was formed in 19th century Prussia. The word refers to the liturgical remembrance of those who have died in the preceding year. While the celebration parallels the more common All Saints Day tradition, Totenfest was traditionally celebrated on the final Sunday of the church year. In our local church, we have retained the image of "Totenfest" while moving the celebration to the more ecumencial All Saints Sunday. We have also added the names of those born in our community during the preceding year, thus celebrating the full cycle of birth and death.
RINGING OF THE BELLS
meet us here in this place
as we mourn those who have died this yearsons and daughters
mothers and fathers
siblings and grandparents
partners and friends
at the same time celebrating new birth among uschildren and grandchildren
siblings and friends.
(List names of births and deaths. As each death is read, an organ bell sounds. As each birth is read, a chime is rung.)
Parents, Children, Siblings and Partners who died this year
Grandchildren, Nieces and Nephews born this year
Holy God of wind and fire;
Dance through this room today.
Holy God of earthquakes and illness;
Share our tears of sadness and pain.
Holy God of creation and new beginnings;
Show us again your vision of healing and wholeness.
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