Grief

Weaving Earth and Sky: Small Group Spiritual Direction for Those in Transition from Loss and Caring for Loved Ones

Author
Tina N. Shelton
Abstract
This project explores the role spiritual disciplines play in the lives of those going through transitions that involve loss or caring for loved ones. This involves inviting God’s presence through spiritual disciplines, learning and relearning strong Biblical characters, and sharing our own narrative stories with one another. Participants at South Elgin Community United Methodist Church took four to six weeks respectively to embark on a healing journey with one another and with God. There was growth and/or healing gained through this project. This growth and/or healing was measured by the new perspectives expressed and the new changes that came forth.

Lamenting youth, believing youth : the role of biblical lament in the faith formation of Mennonite adolescents

Author
Robert Elson Yoder
Abstract
In recent decades there has been an increase in eating disorders, depression, suicide and other mental health illnesses among American adolescents. There is a proliferation for a "feel good" attitude in our American culture that denies or limits constructive expressions of lament, but strives for success and accelerated achievement. Theologically, our society narrowly views God as a therapeutic being who "helps us" when we need to feel good. Mennonite youth are not immune to the societal pressures and various mental health concerns that persist. Lamenting Youth, Believing Youth explores the role of biblical lament in faith formation and pastoral care of early, middle, and late Mennonite adolescents as a response to contemporary cultural realities. The thesis of this Doctor of Ministry project is that Mennonite pastors and youth workers will be motivated to engage youth in expressions of biblical lament by enabling youth to write their own prayers of lament. After describing a theology and understanding of biblical lament, I then explore how regular engagement in practices of lament will aid in the faith formation and pastoral care of adolescents. The method I used to investigate this thesis was to equip three different youth pastors to lead members of their junior and senior high youth groups through a series of timed-writing prayer exercises of lament. In addition, one pastor led this same practice with his young adult church group, while I conducted it with a college youth ministry class comprised mainly of young adults. Observations were then made from the questionnaires that adolescents in this study completed, as well as from their voluntarily submitted prayers of lament. I discovered that young people were comfortable engaging this prayer discipline and appreciated the opportunity to express their emotions to God.

A Substance Abuse Grief Recovery Strategy for Residents of Jimmie Hale Mission, Birmingham, Alabama

Author
Sidney C. Tortorice
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to train selected adults from Jimmie Hale Rescue Mission, Birmingham, Alabama, in a strategy for coping with grief in relation to substance abuse. The project director sought to fulfill three goals for this project. First, to research the field of grief recovery in order to determine essential practices, he researched literature in grief recovery and evaluated essential grief recovery practices in rescue missions. The second goal was to identify the best model for grief recovery in substance abuse programs in selected rescue missions. He accomplished this goal by researching abuse programs in multiple North American rescue missions. The third goal was to design a grief recovery strategy for substance abuse residents at Jimmie Hale Rescue Mission by selecting team members and creating strategy sessions.

Pastoral care for the bereaved through the first memorial service

Author
Woan Suak Cho
Abstract
"The purpose of the study is to provide pastoral care to help the children recover from the loss and grief suffering after the death of their beloved parents. The author designed a particular form of the first memorial service to heal the wounded hearts of the bereaved. First, the author asked the bereaved families to prepare articles left by the deceased, which would allow them to remember their beloved parents, and then had the first memorial service in a chapel with the small group members to which the bereaved families belonged. The bereaved experienced the recovery of their wounded hearts by participating in the first memorial service, confirming that they were not completely separated from their parents, but still connected. The author conducted interviews and observations on two aspects - the daily life and the church life before and after the first memorial service - to track how the loss and grief of the bereaved families had been changed through the service. The author determined through the assessments that the first memorial service helped heal the wounded hearts of the bereaved and that they could play a positive role as members of the church community." -- Leaf [2].

Preaching Through Grief to Wholeness

Author
Dava Cruise Hensley D.Min.
Abstract
Grief and Loss are ever present in the life of the church. Death, illness, and change are ongoing events in the gathered community. Such loss is often accompanied by grief and at times, unrecognized and therefore, unresolved. This thesis is directed at naming unresolved grief and through intentional preaching which address grief, offers a legitimate and helpful way to address grief and can be the beginning of the process for healing to move through grief to wholeness using preaching as a tool of pastoral care. In this study, a Parish Support Group (PSG) selected from members of the congregation met before and after the preaching moments to evaluate if grief acknowledged from the pulpit allowed the congregation to begin to name grief. Interviews, questionnaires, and narrative stories were used in the evaluation process by the PSG and congregation. The logic method was used as evaluation of the resources needed to work through grief made changes in the community in vital ways. The congregation displayed evidence of movement as the grieving process was addressed being more willing to move beyond the pews and serve more in the neighborhood.

MATURING CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP THROUGH TIMES OF SUFFERING: A STUDY IN AN AMERICAN MIDWEST CONGREGATION - NEW HOPE CHURCH; ADEL, IOWA

Author
Thomas Hein D.Min.
Abstract
The project identifies some of the ways Christians grow in maturity during times of suffering. During these times some Christians grow in maturity, while others experience a setback in their spiritual growth. This is a pastoral study, meaning that it is primarily concerned with observation and analysis of the discipleship process in the lives of Christian believers. The project evaluates true and false beliefs about God and spiritual life that occur during the process of suffering in the lives of New Hope Evangelical Free Church (Adel, Iowa) adult believers. Fifty-seven church members answered questions in a quantitative survey inquiring about their spiritual life before and after their time of suffering. Interviews were conducted with fifteen of the survey participants for more in depth evaluation of their spiritual disciplines, attitudes, and beliefs.

The study evaluated some false beliefs about God and spiritual life that Christians may develop during times of suffering. In addition, the study evaluated what true beliefs about God and spiritual life sustained believers during times of trial. Finally, the study evaluated what spiritual disciplines helped people move toward greater spiritual maturity during a season of suffering.

The practical application outcome of the study is a small group workbook entitled, A Journey through Suffering: Processing the Painful Experiences of Life. This resource is designed to be an exegetical devotional guide to help people reflect on their suffering in the context of a biblical metanarrative. Prayerful reflection will potentially lead toward maturing discipleship that glorifies God.

"Sing, O Barren One" : writing hymns to transform and to be transformed

Author
Lindsay Louise Biddle
Abstract
Biblical and spiritual ancestors dialogued with the Divine in order to come to terms with reallife circumstances. In a church in Glasgow, Scotland, the author-pastor encouraged worshippers each week for three months to record their personal well-being, reflect on scripture, and use parts of worship based on the reflections. Their situations dramatically transformed, and they experienced transformation, not so much as a direct result of this project, but rather, this experiment of writing hymns that illuminate or dialogue with scripture gave them time and space to express, listen, respond, and realize the transformation happening in and around them.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Empowering clinical staff to provide spiritual care for patients with life limiting illness and their family members under hospice cleveland county care

Author
Terry Pinkney Floyd
Abstract
Staff members at Hospice Cleveland County struggle to provide quality spiritual care to dying patients or their family members because the staff members are not trained chaplains. Staff members tend to fall back on "pat" answers that can sometimes cause the patient or family members to have even more unresolved spiritual issues.

This project sought to determine whether or not hospice staff could become more empowered to give quality spiritual care by being introduced to the basics of pastoral care to the dying and their families. Information was shared by way of presentations; practical experience was gained by role-playing and shadowing.

The pre-test/post-test scores indicate that the participants learned the basic theology of pastoral care to dying patients and their families. There was enthusiastic verbal affirmation of the process, including the desire to repeat the project for a longer period of time. Individual growth of the vast majority of the participants, as a result of the project, has resulted in better care of the patients and more job satisfaction for the participants.

Equipping selected adults of Lowrey Memorial Baptist Church, Blue Mountain, Mississippi, in grief ministry skills

Author
Michael Baker
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to equip selected adults of Lowrey Memorial Baptist Church, Blue Mountain, Mississippi, in grief ministry skills. The project director seeks to fulfill three goals for this project. First, to determine the skills necessary for effective grief ministry, he plans to research the field of grief ministry as it applies to ministering to families that have experienced the loss of a loved one. The second goal is to develop a workshop that will equip selected adults of Lowrey Memorial Baptist Church with grief ministry skills. The third goal is to present the workshop to the selected adults so that they will be better equipped to minister effectively to grieving families.

The teaching methodology to implement the project included lectures, multimedia presentations, group sessions, and case studies. The project director evaluated the selected adult in the three domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Using a post-workshop evaluation, the participants evaluated the project director’s instructional skills.

Equipping Selected Members of New Palestine Baptist Church, Picayune, Mississippi, To Minister to Families Experience Loss Due to Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death

Author
Joshua H Braddy
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to equip selected members of New Palestine Baptist Church, Picayune, Mississippi, to minister to families experiencing loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. The project director researched in the field of grief ministry to integrate essential ministry skills. The project director used the results of the research to created lesson plans and curriculum to equip selected members in grief ministry skills. The equipping of the selected members took place in a workshop setting. The project director started the project with research and ended with the equipping of the selected embers. The project director authenticated the research through evaluation and expert enlistment.
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