Rim Country Chapter

Payson, Arizona

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2012 Candlelight Memorial Walk    

Sunday December 9th at Green Valley Park

Meet at 6:40pm, Walk begins precisely at 7:00pm

Call 928-978-1492 for more info.


Worldwide Candle Lighting    The mission of The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child at any age and to provide information to help others be supportive.

    We are a national nonprofit, self-help organization with almost 600 local chapters. Click HERE for the Rim Country Chapter location and monthly meeting schedule.

    Our meetings are open to all family members who are grieving the death of a child. There is no religious affiliation and no dues or fees. There is a free monthly newsletter and each chapter offers a free lending library.

    We offer a safe place for bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings to meet and talk freely about your child and your grief issues. No one is required to speak, but non-judgmental listening is expected.

 Meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.  For more information, call (928) 978-1492

    For more information about The Compassionate Friends, visit TCF's national Web site at www.thecompassionatefriends.org


A guide to our Web site


How It All Began

The Compassionate Friends was founded in Coventry, England in 1969, following the deaths of two young boys, Billy Henderson and Kenneth Lawley, the previous spring. Billy and Kenneth had died just three days apart in the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital where Rev. Simon Stephens was Assistant to the Chaplain. Simon mentioned Billy's death to Iris and Joe Lawley, and the Lawleys decided to send flowers to Billy's funeral. The signed the card simply, "Kenneth's parents," realizing that the Hendersons would know who they were.

Bill and Joan Henderson then invited the Lawleys over for tea, and an immediate bond was formed as the two couples spoke freely about their boys, sharing their memories and the dreams that had died with Billy and Kenneth. They continued to get together regularly, and young Rev. Stephens, then only 23, encouraged them to invite other newly bereaved parents to join them. In 1969 another grieving mother accepted their invitation to meet with Simon and the two couples. They decided to organize as a self-help group and actively begin reaching out to newly bereaved parents in their community. Because the word "compassionate" kept coming up, this new organization was called "The Society of the Compassionate Friends."

Simon became a chaplain in the British Royal Navy in the 70's. He was met by bereaved parents at ports around the world, and he helped them to develop their own chapters. TCF had become well-known through U.K. and U.S.A. editions of such magazines as Time and Good Housekeeping. Paula and Arnold Shamres of Florida read Simon's interview in Time Magazine and invited him to visit them in Florida and speak to bereaved parents there. He did, and the Shamres subsequently founded the first U.S. chapter in 1972. Word of the organization spread rapidly through interest generated by the Phil Donahue Show and the columns of Dear Abby and Ann Landers.

The Compassionate Friends was incorporated in the United States as a non-profit organization in 1978.

In 1989 The Compassionate Friends of Great Britain dedicated a plaque commemorating the founding of the organization, at the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital where TCF had begun. The plaque was unveiled by their patron, Countess Mountbatten, herself a bereaved parent.

Then in November, 1994 Queen Elizabeth presented Iris Lawley with a medal, The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in recognition of her work on behalf of TCF.

There are now Compassionate Friends chapters in every state in the United States—almost 600 altogether—and hundreds of chapters in Canada, Great Britain and other countries throughout the world. In the United States, chapters are open to all bereaved siblings and other family members who are grieving the death of a child of any age, from any cause.


We need not walk alone.  We are The Compassionate Friends.  We reach out to each other with love, with understanding and with hope.  Our children have died at all ages and from many different causes, but our love for our children unites us. Your pain becomes my pain just as your hope becomes my hope.  We come together from all walks of life, from many different circumstances.  We are a unique family because we represent many races and creeds.  We are young, and we are old.  Some of us are far along in our grief, but others still feel a grief so fresh and so intensely painful that we feel helpless and see no hope.  Some of us have found our faith to be a source for strength; some of us are struggling to find answers.  Some of us are angry, filled with guilt or in a deep depression; others radiate an inner peace.  But whatever pain we bring to this gathering of The Compassionate Friends, it is pain we will share just as we share with each other our love for our children.  We are all seeking and struggling to build a future for ourselves, but we are committed to building that future together as we reach out to each other in love and share the pain as well as the joy, share the anger as well as the peace, share the faith as well as the doubts and help each other grieve as well as to grow.

     Why Butterflies?    

Since the early centuries, the butterfly has symbolized renewed life.  The caterpillar signifies life here on earth; the cocoon, death; and the butterfly, the emergence of the dead into a new, beautiful and freer existence.  Frequently, the butterfly is seen with the word "Nika," which means victory.  Elisabeth Kübler-Ross movingly tells of seeing butterflies drawn all over the walls of the children's dormitories in the World War II concentration camps.  Since Elisabeth believes in the innate intuitiveness of children, she concludes that these children knew their fate and were leaving us a message.  Many members of The Compassionate Friends embrace the butterfly a symbol--a sign of hope to them that their children are living in another dimension with greater beauty and freedom-- a comforting thought to many.


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Last Update:   11/13/12 05:20 PM

This site was produced in loving memory of Dalton William Knauss