In 1991, the ‘Tree of Angels’ project was initiated in Austin, Texas USA by ‘People Against Violent Crime’ who wanted to ‘do something’ that recognised how particularly difficult the Christmas-New Year holiday season is for people whose lives have been shattered by violent crime. The idea has spread within the US and to other parts of the world.
VOCAL Inc NSW heard about the concept and decided to share it with our community, starting here in Newcastle in 2004.
The simple idea includes a ceremony of honouring our angels. There’s a large, green unadorned Christmas Tree that represents the strong, supportive arms of VOCAL. The people bring their personal angel ornament to place on the tree. There’s an Honour Roll of all the Angels. Together we build ‘The VOCAL Christmas Tree of Angels’ in memory of lives lost or changed by crime, sudden death and tragedy.
Once The Christmas Tree is filled with our angels, the Christmas lights are lit, and we have built a spectacular expression of love, shared loss and community support.
Each year our ceremony changes a little, but always the gratitude of the people is heartfelt. The descriptions include ’beautiful’, ‘healing’ and always appreciation by those who told us how the gathering reminded them they were not alone in sorrow, that others did understand their pain. That despite the uniting sadness we have experienced, the occasion is one of joy. The supper afterwards allows old friends and new acquaintances to meet.
See highlights from our 2012 Newcastle ceremony
2012 Christmas Tree of Angels
So, this year if you would like to place an angel on our tree to honour and remember a loved one lost too soon to crime or similar tragedy, please contact us for further information and your invitation. If you attended last year’s service, your Angel ornament will be waiting for you, so please let us know if you can attend.
One of our families had this to say:
“Tree of Angels is my Christmas Day. I am truly grateful to have this wonderful, heartfelt, spiritual event.”
Feedback from one of our families in response to an invitation:
The names of our angels that live at your house all year just waiting for us to come for a visit are: Heidi Cartwright, George Sutherland, Troy Bailey, Ron Cartwright, Grace Cartwright, Margaret Cartwright. This evening means a lot to a lot of people.”
The concept for the beautiful ‘Tree of Angels’ program originated in Austin, Texas, see www.peopleagainstviolentcrime.org/home.html
We can also provide consultation to groups that are interested in setting up a Christmas Tree of Angels service in their region. For further information please contact email@example.com