For the last 3 years, Redeemer has offered a lay-led support group for those in our church and greater community that have experienced grief and loss. Called Sacred Space for Grace, Dorcas Hutton and the Rev. Joanne Tetrault initiated this wonderful program. Both are graduates of the Loyola Pastoral Counseling Program. The baton of leadership has now passed to Redeemer members, Ruthie Cromwell, also a graduate of the Pastoral Counseling Program and Nancy Bowen who has her Bereavement Certificate from Gilchrist Hospice. Both Ruthie and Nancy are also completing a 30-week program at the Center for Spiritual Support Training at GBMC. Sacred Space for Grace is 6-week program that is free and open to the congregation as well as the public. It will meet Tuesdays from 10-11:30, beginning March 28 and ending May 2.

The issue of grieving in our society is one that is slowly coming into the public conversation. The growing recognition of the valuable role hospice is playing in the life-death cycle of our mortality is so important. To have the vulnerability to not only accept our true feelings around loss but then to share them in a small group is so healthy and reassuring. One key element of grieving is the temptation to avoid the emotions. No one will go through the process in the same manner but it can be helpful to have supportive understanding companions along the way. How comforting to know that you are not alone. Also, grieving and loss can occur not just with a death, but all kinds of other life changes as well.

I want to offer you a bit of wisdom from a book called “The Gift of Grief” by Matthew D. Gewirtz: There is no blessing in grief and loss. It hurts. That does not mean, however, that we should try to run away from the truth that the experience of suffering may offer us. What I will continue to offer is a discernment of the difference between getting through our grief and being transformed through our grief. There is a significant difference. With the former, we are doing anything we can to make life the same as it was before the tragedy. We keep ourselves busy when we should be mourning or sad. We just try to get through until we push it out of our minds, the pain ebbs, and we move on without healing from within. However, when we transform through suffering, we stay present in our pain. We can transform; we can transcend; but first we must have the fortitude to surrender to our new reality.”

The invitation to be transformed by our grief is what the Sacred Space for Grace offers. If you would like to register (space is limited) or have questions please contact me at Download the program flier here SSG FLIER Spring 2017.