The Montgomery First Church in Montgomery, Ala., has suffered the loss of several church members in the past year. “Seeing so many people that were mourning, seemingly alone, and uncertain of what to do with their grief was difficult,” shared Cynthia Bush, Grief Ministry leader for Montgomery First. Thus, she felt inspired to start virtual grief support group meetings centered around the services of GriefShare to help. “We prayerfully wanted to remove common barriers that might prevent some from attending in person,” shared Bush.
“Our prayer is that, through compassionate resources, biblical education, and prayerful Christian fellowship, the bereaved will learn through their grief stories, and be drawn closer to their refuge in Jesus Christ,” Bush continued.
“We started meeting in November 2021 on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. CST via Zoom. Participants began to share how the meetings were helping them to understand what they were experiencing,” related Bush. Dan Thompson, pastor of Montgomery First, adds, “This Grief Ministry reaches many, both within our fellowship and others who need comfort from wherever they are. The virtual format allows us to reach a much wider community truly.”
“All are welcome to attend; we’ve been blessed with participants as far away as Bermuda,” added Bush.
GriefShare is a biblical, Christ-centered non-clinical support group product that offers training for facilitators, educational videos, support resources, and small group discussion guides that trained laypersons can conduct. “The guidelines for participating in the support group help us to navigate the particulars of a virtual setting,” said Bush.
Bernell Mapp, head elder for Montgomery First, continued, “Grief is a shadow hanging over humanity. Yet, despite knowing that we are destined to experience death, we remain woefully unprepared when it comes. Thus, it was essential for an educational component to be included in the vision for this ministry.”
Bush shared, “We recently started our second session of GriefShare with many alums from the first session joining us once more while testifying to a healing quality of this support group that we believe is an answer to our prayers. The success of the meetings has come from a praying team of Grief Ministry volunteers that are trained and committed to the weekly meetings. This is not a venture that anyone should host on their own; it takes God’s leading, prayer, and a joint effort of mature Christians.”
The church is thankful that, through technology, they can cross state borders and overseas to offer compassionate support. The church maintains that all are welcome. Anyone interested in joining this support group or participating to understand better how they can start a group in their church can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gulf States | June 2022