The Cathedral Church of the Intercessor (Malverne, NY) has added two new support groups to its list of ministries.
GriefShare and DivorceCare provide practical help and spiritual healing to two groups of people suffering loss in their lives. Both programs, offered through Church Initiative, are structured around a 13-week schedule of meetings that feature video seminars and focused support groups.
Emotions resulting from divorce or the death of a loved one are often similar; both involve a traumatic separation that can lead to feelings of anger, depression, loneliness, and guilt. Isolation from social circles and withdrawing from God can occur. In their own specific ways, GriefShare and DivorceCare address these and other concerns, helping hurting individuals find hope and healing.
Because death can inflict psychic wounds that run deep, and the grieving period can last for years, the need for a dedicated ministry like GriefShare is significant. The materials in this program, developed with the help of licensed professionals, offer practical advice and biblical teachings to help participants go through a healthy season of grieving before transitioning to emotional and spiritual wholeness.
Group members will find a safe place to share their feelings and be vulnerable. The various stages and aspects of grief–which can impact body, mind, and spirit–are considered. Difficult issues, like struggling with one’s faith or how to grieve a conflicted relationship, can be addressed. Participants will learn how solitude after loss of a loved one can be both a blessing and a curse.
Because DivorceCare encourages reconciliation whenever possible, individuals who are going through separation are invited to this ministry as well as those whose marriages have been officially dissolved. In fact, after exploring the pain of anger and the challenge of forgiveness, participants are shown that reconciliation may still be possible even if their marriage is not restored.
Most of the lay leaders in DivorceCare groups have been through divorce themselves and can demonstrate how a personal relationship with Jesus Christ provides the best foundation for a renewed life. This is especially important for those who do not regularly attend church, and thus serves as an effective outreach to the local community.
Topics covered range from financial survival to starting new relationships. One segment focuses on divorce and children; at some DivorceCare gatherings, a complementary group for youngsters is also offered, called DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K).
The video seminars that begin each weekly session of both ministry groups feature interviews with a variety of authors, counselors and pastors with expertise in relationships, emotions, grief recovery and other issues. DivorceCare experts include Kay Arthur (Precept Ministries International), Dr. Tony Evans (Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship) and Dave Ramsey (Financial Peace University). The GriefShare broadcasts include inspirational messages from musician Michael Card, author Joni Eareckson Tada, and motivational speaker the late Zig Ziglar.
After watching the video seminars, which run about half-an-hour, groups continue with a guided discussion and time for sharing. Both ministries also include a workbook for personal study and reflection with an emphasis on biblical teachings.
by Jill Payne