GROVE — Lendonwood Gardens has canceled its 2020 Angel of Hope remembrance ceremony, due to concerns about increases in COVID-19 cases in the Delaware County area.
Originally scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6, the ceremony normally is held on the same day each year to remember lost loved ones, especially children.
Instead of the group event, Lendonwood officials encourage individuals to visit the statue privately at any time, perhaps laying a white flower at the base in remembrance.
“Canceling this beautiful event saddens us all,” said Jim Corbridge, president of the Lendonwood Board of Directors. “Even though it’s an outdoor ceremony, we just don’t want to risk the health of the many people who typically participate.”
The Angel of Hope statue was placed in Lendonwood as part of a national movement, inspired by the 1993 best-selling novel, “The Christmas Box,” by Richard Paul Evans. As of this year, about 140 Angel of Hope statues have been erected in the U.S., Japan and Canada, each with an annual commemoration ceremony on Dec. 6.
At Lendonwood, the annual ceremony typically includes music, reading of the statue’s history, placement of white flowers, and offering of prayers.
Memorial bricks inscribed with personalized messages are installed around the base of the Angel of Hope statue. The inscribed bricks, which are available for $100 each, may be ordered on Lendonwood’s web site or by contacting the garden at 918-786-2938.
Lendonwood, one of 14 botanical gardens in Oklahoma, is a nonprofit organization funded and supported by donations and volunteers. The garden is open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk.