Laying My Church to Rest

How I learned to process the unique grief of closing a church.
Laying My Church to Rest
Image: Photo by Pearl / Lightstock

I held my brother’s ashes in my hand. The texture was finer and smoother than my sister’s ashes 18 years before. Hers had been more granulated, with a grayish tone. My brother’s were softer and pale white. Before I slowly circled the 90-year-old maple tree that stands outside my family home in Montgomery, Ohio, I held “him” in silence for a few moments. Then little by little, I spread “him” around the base of the tree.

I stood back and looked up to the top of the tree. I raised my arms, and from somewhere deep in my soul came a wail that had been held back for the year following his death. I let it go and wept, lowering my arms slowly. When the crying ceased minutes later, I felt an unexpected relief that I had finally done what I had been dreading: I had let go of him once more. Now it was clear he would not walk through the kitchen door later that morning. I turned around and hugged my sister-in-law and my deceased sister’s son. We shared ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
The 2018 CT Pastors Book Recommendations
The 2018 CT Pastors Book Recommendations
Six recent books that will aid you in your ministry.
From the Magazine
We Prayed for Healing. God Brought a Pandemic.
We Prayed for Healing. God Brought a Pandemic.
A coronavirus outbreak at France’s biggest Pentecostal megachurch changed their view of providence, judgment, and fellowship.
Editor's Pick
How to Preach When You Don’t Know Who’s Listening
How to Preach When You Don’t Know Who’s Listening
5 principles for online preaching.
close