Christ Church Anglican in Cranbrook held a public community memorial/celebration of life on Friday April 14, 2023 for victims of the drug poisoning public health emergency, marking the seventh anniversary.
Reverend Kevin Arndt, the incumbent at Christ Church, said that the church was nearly full to capacity and over 100 were receiving the online stream.
“It was the first time the local Ktunaxa Nation had ever been invited and allowed to smudge, drum or sing inside a church in Cranbrook. The act of reconciliation alone was incredibly powerful, with lots of tears and lots of laughter,” he added.
“There was a mix of street folk, public health workers, advocates, city counselors, Ktunaxa of all ages (one drum circle was a children’s circle), church folk, first responders, and many more.”
The drumming and singing was incredible. Justin Swanson sang ‘Hallelujah,’ by Leonard Cohen and ‘Arms of the Angels,’ by Sara McLachlin,
Jessica Lamb, co-founder of EKNPUD (East Kootenay Network of People who Use Drugs), told the crowd, “Addiction is like a spider web. You can’t see it, but it affects everyone it comes into contact with. This drug poisoning crisis isn’t just about the person who uses substances. It’s about the family members. It’s about the people who are working in the community to try and make a difference in somebody’s life.” (The Townsman)
The memorial also included a moment where the names of those who have been lost to the crisis were honoured and remembered.
The entire service was live-streamed and recorded by McPherson’s funeral services. Video link https://www.hdezwebcast.com/video/44711
The event was also covered by CBC.