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Doves in flight to be featured in Michigan church’s COVID-19 memorial

First Presbyterian Church of Holt seeks the names and stories of those who have died of the coronavirus

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

Cheryl Gamber, the lead artist for First Presbyterian Church of Holt, Michigan’s COVID-19 memorial, creates one of the more than 500 doves to be included in the memorial, which will be dedicated during a livestreamed candlelight vigil on March 10. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Members of First Presbyterian Church of Holt, Michigan, are preparing to dedicate an innovative memorial to honor the more than 510,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 — and they need your help to make the effort churchwide.

A temporary outdoor art installation of over 500 handmade fabric doves is being created by members of the First Presbyterian Church of Holt to be suspended in strands from the church’s bell tower crosses. The church plans to dedicate the memorial in a 7 p.m. Eastern Time candlelight vigil on March 10, which marks the anniversary of the first COVID-19 case in Michigan. The vigil will be livestreamed via YouTube here.

According to the Rev. Kirk Miller, one of the pastors at the church, the intent is to help the congregation and larger community acknowledge and process the monumental loss of life from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) wishing to honor the life of someone who has died from COVID-19 can click here to fill out a brief form online or call the church office at 517-694-8151. You’ll be asked to provide your beloved’s name, date of birth and death, and three words that speak to their life. The biographies will be displayed on the doves as well as the church’s outdoor electronic sign.

Ken Hoffman and the Rev. Kirk Miller prepare the site for the COVID-19 memorial at First Presbyterian Church of Holt, Michigan. (Contributed photo)

The memorial — which will be visible night and day — will remain on display until the pandemic lifts.

First Presbyterian Church of Holt is about 15 minutes south of Lansing at 2021 N. Aurelius Road. The church’s local partners include Advent House Ministries in Lansing, a shelter for those experiencing homelessness; a neighboring elementary school, where First Presbyterian Church members tutor twice per month; and the Holt Community Food Bank.

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