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Hospital program honors loved ones while raising funds

DULUTH - Luminaries will light up the area outside the Outpatient center of the Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth next week as community members and hospital staff gather to honor and remember loved ones.

The Congregation Health Ministry, a program that connects faith communities and churches with parish nurses for physical and spiritual care, will host the honorary "Lights of Love and Remembrance" event for the first time at

7 p.m. Thursday at the Duluth medical center.

"We're hoping to make this a tradition every year," said Linda Hughes, clinical nurse educator for the ministry.

For a donation of $20, those attending the program can purchase an honorary luminary donning the name of the person they wish to honor. The lighted bags can be purchased by signing up online at or during the night's event.

Hughes said all proceeds collected from luminary purchases will go to help churches become part of the Congregational Health Ministry as well as to purchase health care items the parish nurses may need.

"If we had our way, we would have a parish nurse in every church in the community," she said.

Jean Holley, registered nurse and director of congregational ministries, said she's already had a number of people purchase luminaries and many have made monetary donations above the $20 requested.

"I would love to make $10,000. I don't know if we'll get it, but that would be great," said Holley.

She said she's hoping the event will bring out a lot of people so they can learn about the services the parish nurses provide.

Refreshments and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus will accompany the luminary service, as well as holiday music performances by the Duluth United Methodist Children's Choir and the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Academy Children's Choir in Norcross.

"We think it's going to be a really fun event," said Holley. "I feel like we'll have a good crowd."