One of my favorite songs is Celebrate the Children, by Alan Pedersen. I absolutely adore this song, as the words speak right to my heart. Without a doubt, our children should be celebrated!
I will never forget the first time I saw him perform. It had been about 18 months since my daughter had passed away and our local Compassionate Friends group had brought him to Salem.
After hearing about the ministry, I anxiously anticipated the upcoming event, not quite sure of what to expect.
Tables were filled with families eager to grasp a sense of hope and healing in an evening solely dedicated to remembering their loved ones.
As the concert began, I realized I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that could accompany such a powerful message that was delivered so eloquently.
I struggled to keep tears from turning into a river and my sniffles to a minimum, as I used an entire package of Kleenex! I was still so new in my own grief that the words penetrated deep in my soul, yet I felt so calm and reassured afterward.
The music of Alan Pedersen flows from his heart so effortlessly and has a miraculous ability to capture the feelings and words of grief which represent a perfect reflection of the thoughts and emotions of his listeners. Yet, music is just one component of this incredible ministry.
Who am I talking about? Angels across the USA!
How could I define them? Alan and Denise….real genuine people full of compassion with hearts of gold.
You see, they too are bereaved. This inspiring dynamic duo from Sacramento began a ministry of hope, healing, & remembrance. In 2009, Denise Pedersen and her husband Alan founded Grief and Beyond. Through this ministry, they have given their talents by offering music, education and comfort to those along this unpredictable journey of grief.
During the past four years, they have traveled throughout the United States offering their gifts to hundreds of organizations, reaching out to thousands.
A collection of written songs, concerts, speaking engagements and workshops; These two are an essential resource for any grieving family.
They are unique in the way that they have this innate ability to bring life to even the darkest of moments. Their mere presence is soothing to the soul, as they exude a feeling of calmness, comfort, and compassion.
When they enter a room, you can’t help but smile and be embraced by love and open arms.
Alan Pedersen, an experienced radio personality and singer/songwriter, lost his 18 yr. old daughter Ashley in a car accident 2001. His wife, Denise, also suffered a tragic loss after losing her son Sean in 2004, as a result of a car accident as well.
Since this time, they have turned their tragedies into a worldwide ministry assisting others through their tough times, providing inspiration and hope.
Alan has composed many songs, making multiple CD’s, has also won several awards and is an inspiration for thousands throughout the world. He has written numerous publications and magazine articles, as well as been featured on television and other media. His music is known worldwide and has been played in every corner of the US and all over the world.
In addition, Denise has been a leader in her local community, reaching out to those in need. After her son passed, she founded the Sean Sullivan Project and began making beautiful gift baskets for newly bereaved parents as well as holding support groups. She is now a certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Grief Services Provider, as well as contributing author, grief facilitator, workshop presenter, and speaker at many conferences and gatherings.
There’s just something about seeing your angle’s butterfly on their van, knowing the unprecedented work they have done in changing lives over the past few years.
I have been so fortunate to have my daughter Lydia travel with the angels for three years, all over the United States….
Their beautiful van……carrying the names of loved ones …………If you see it on the road, you can’t help but smile and shed a tear at the same time!
For the past four years, they have traveled across the country spreading love & hope with their inspiring music and gifts. Most recently, the Angel’s tour has come to an end as Alan Pedersen begins his new role as Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends.
I could go on and on about these two as they are just incredible people doing amazing things.
Check them out for yourself!
We should be so thankful for those like Alan and Denise, who have paved the road before us, giving the newly bereaved hope and strength, showing us that we can survive and life can have new meaning.
God bless these Angels!