The Cathedral Church of
the Intercessor (Malverne, NY) has added two new support groups to its list of
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
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
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
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