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Parish Updates

Our New Grief Group

Posted by Fr. Andrew Van Kirk on

On October 9 at 7:00 pm, a new ministry at St. Andrew’s will get underway: an open grief group led by our Stephen Ministers. I want to tell you a little about this group. First, What is it? And second, Who are these Stephen Ministers leading it?

An open grief group is a group that anyone, regardless of where they are in their journey of grief, can join and find support, encouragement, and prayer — as well as concrete information and conversation to help navigate the journey of grief.

Many different people have asked for such a group: parishioners here who have suffered loss; members of our community who get up the courage to cold call churches looking for help; nurses at hospitals searching for some place where bereaved family members may find help and support. Our prayer is that this will be a blessing to our community here at St. Andrew’s was well as our wider community.

Grief is not a bad thing; grief itself is not the adversary. Even our Lord cried at the death of his friend Lazarus. But there is a pernicious aspect to grief, and that’s the way that grief can compound loneliness. No one can walk another’s journey of grief, but at the same time, no one need walk their journey alone, especially in the Body of Christ!

It is my blessed burden as your priest to know something of how many people in our congregation are walking with grief, and I pray many of you will take this opportunity as an invitation from God to take another step on your journey. The group will meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month; you can attend as long as you feel it is helpful.

This grief group will be led by our Stephen Ministers, a group of lay people who are extensively trained to offer Christ-centered care to people going through difficult times.

While their training and experience makes Stephen Ministers perfect leaders to provide structure and content to the group sessions and to facilitate the discussions, they are called to provide one-on-one care as well. Our trained Stephen Ministers have themselves been through life’s crises, and know first hand the life-changing benefits of such care and support. If you wonder if you might benefit from receiving the care of a Stephen Minister, I encourage to reach out to me directly.

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