Up to one hundred people joined in the Winter Solstice Event on Friday December 21 in Deep Cove. Organized by the community of St. Clare-in-the-Cove, it is believed to be the first time such an event has been held in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

“It was a fantastic turn-out and local people upon hearing the drums joined us along the way,” said one participant.

The event started when about 75 people gathered in a local park and formed a Procession of Light. Drummers and torchbearers led the procession.  Excited children and adults followed, carrying a mixture of homemade lanterns and glowsticks.  Some brought their own lanterns and some were given instruments to use as drums. 

The procession stopped by the seashore where participants tossed stones into the sea, symbolizing the casting away of the past and making room for the new. After winding through the streets of Deep Cove the procession made its way to the church of St Clare-in-the-Cove where the numbers swelled to around 100.

 Upon arrival the participants gathered around a warm outdoor fire.  They were welcomed and offered refreshments, mulled wine and hot cider, hotdogs and Christmas goodies. The children roasted marshmallows at the firepit. The weather cooperated, with the rain holding off until after the procession. 

Many walked the large, outdoor, labyrinth that was ringed by candlelight. A quiet space was created inside the church where people were able to come and light candles, sit quietly, while listening to soft music and reading poems.   Many found this experience of entering a sacred space significant and meaningful. 

For some it was very emotional--one older person was moved to tears as she recounted that this occasion reminded her of the solstice celebrations they used to experience in her homeland overseas many years ago.

St Clare-in-the-cove offered the winter Solstice Event because of our commitment to honoring diversity and inviting inclusivity. By gathering with the diverse traditions in our wider community we are able to explore the many facets of spiritual life. 

Our goal is to connect with people who wish to be spiritual, even if they don’t consider themselves religious, to offer opportunities where we can explore and foster our spiritual journeys together

“What is so wonderful about the solstice is that it allows so many people -- of different faiths and beliefs to welcome the coming of light and to celebrate the Sacred Presence.”  

We are encouraged by the response to this first winter solstice event. We will be looking at other events where we can come together to continue to discover and to share in the celebration of the Sacred Presence with the wider community in Deep Cove.

Judging from the success of this event, it looks as though this celebration could become an annual fixture.