Church sign

Church of the Nazarene

BOWLING GREEN—The Cancer Memorial Park board decided recently to make the annual Memorial Day Service a virtual service. They are going to post the service live to their Facebook page Monday, May 25 starting at 9 a.m.

Restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have made even small towns a different place. Most people have adhered to the social distancing guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control. Non-essential businesses closed, and those allowed to remain open enacted new guidelines for the general public. Everyone became more aware of what was at stake when it came to the coronavirus.

Karen Daffron, chair of the Cancer Memorial Park board, said it was important for people to understand that many of the people who attend the annual service are cancer survivors, and as such, have compromised immune systems that make them more susceptible to catching the virus.

Normally, the Memorial Day service is held in the Cancer Memorial Park on W. Main Street, adjacent to Boquet Florist. That space does not allow for good social distancing.

“We couldn’t see having the normal service like we usually do,” Daffron said. “So, we went with the Church of the Nazarene, which has always been our backup site.”

Daffron noted that the church had been putting its services live on Facebook since Gov. Mike Parson put restrictions on social gatherings. He recently started allowing a phase opening of the state to get the economy started. She said she knew the church had the equipment necessary to broadcast what they wanted to do.

“I called (Pastor) Cole Branstetter and asked if we could do the service there in the church, and he said that would be great, and he’s going to lend us all their equipment.”

With that, they decided to do everything that they normally do for their Memorial Day service. Daffron said she would be making introductory remarks then introduce this year’s speakers. Matt Chance and Mary Oberman are the featured speakers this year. Mary will be speaking about family members she’s lost.

“She lost her sister, Rose, and mother-in law, Pauline Oberman,” Daffron said. “Rose passed a few years ago, and Pauline died in January. Matt Chance is going to be our cancer survivor speaker.”

The music will be provided by Izzy Truelove, she added. Branstetter will offer prayer during the service, as well.

Names of all who are memorialized in the park will be read as part of the service.

“We also open that up to anybody who has someone they lost and wants their name read,” Daffron said. “We’ll accept those names and read them that day, too.”

Daffron thought the virtual service would only have the park board members, speakers and singer present, but after talking with Branstetter, he said he would have seating available for 90 people and still be able to maintain social distancing guidelines.

“If people are comfortable attending,” she said, “they are welcome.”

She hopes that things would return to normal in time for their Celebration of Life, this fall. If you would like to submit the name of a loved one, who is currently battling cancer, has survived cancer, or has been lost to cancer, or if you have any questions, please email The Cancer Memorial Park Facebook page cancermemorialpark.

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