Why We Fail the Grieving

How can a church comfort and support those who grieve? Beyond providing funerals, meals, and flowers, what can the church do to walk alongside those who have suffered a significant loss?

Consider how two churches responded to deaths within their respective congregations:

The first story is mine. It was more than 30 years ago when my father died of cancer. I remember standing in the narthex of the church looking at my friends. They were talking among themselves and every now and then, would glance quickly in my direction. They knew my father had died but they did not approach me. I think they wanted to do something to extend support or comfort, but they did not know what to say or do. So they just stood there. It made me feel like I had a contagious disease. Let’s call it “Grief Pox.” No one ever sent a card or expressed any tangible support through my bereavement. I was left to navigate the waters of grief by myself.

The second story belongs to a friend whose ...

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