Bereavement Ministry brings a caring presence and a living reminder of God's love to those in grief after the loss of a significant other through death. Our Ministers are your fellow parishioners who are compassionate and caring and are trained to give one-on-one care and listening to those in our fold who have lost a significant other.
They support and guide the bereaved through their grief journey through home visits and or phone calls. We respect their right to grieve in their own way and time and always maintain confidentiality in order to provide a safe and caring environment.
Even though many of the bereaved in our area have large families, it is also very helpful to many of them to have someone from the outside to talk to. The average grieving period after a significant loss is around 2 years. Families don't like to see there loved ones suffer. They want their loved ones to be free of their grief, to be happy again, so many of those grieving, after a premature period of time, hide their real feelings from those they love so they don't worry so much about them since they appear to be doing much better. Not always true! So having a compassionate, non-family member to also talk to, in confidence, allows them to progress through their grief journey and receive the additional support they still need for awhile.
Our Bereavement Minister stays with each assigned bereaved for a year and visits with them once a month for an hour, and sometimes in the early months, it might be every two weeks. They know we are there for them in their grief and develop a trust and rapport with them that many times turns into a great friendship.
Volunteer as a Bereavement Minister: Many of you who are compassionate and empathetic, already are offering care and listening to those that are going through troubled times and this is exactly what you do as a Bereavement Minister. Many of you have suffered loss yourselves and how many times did you wish you had someone to talk to about your grief that would understand and accept you where you were. Those interested in this Ministry do not have to have had a significant loss to be a good Minister. Men and women both are needed since we try to keep women with women and men with men.
Training is given to each new member in how to be a good listener. It trains you to speak in a way that opens up conversation for the bereaved, so that they might begin to speak their feelings and begin their journey to healing. Training is a two hour class and then we have meetings once every two months for on-going training and support. These last an hour to an hour and a half. Meetings are suspended for the summer months, but the lead ministers are always available, at any time, for support if needed.
Contact: Every parishioner that has lost a significant other, spouse or child, is sent a condolence letter from our Ministry after the 1st month, after things settle down, and told that we will be calling them in a couple weeks to see if we can meet with them, share our bereavement packet and to talk and see if our Ministry can be of help to them.
Why: This Ministry gives support, hope and strength to the bereaved who feel they are lost. The strength that the bereaved finds during this process is amazing. They find that they can come out the other side of this journey and still enjoy a different life knowing that their loved one is still with them always in spirit and would want them to go on and enjoy life.
For additional information on our Bereavement Ministry, please contact either
Sharon Smith 989.731.4476
Rose Gleason 989.731.4718