A Grief Ministry: Creating A Safe Place To Do The Work of Greaving Open Access

McElroy, Nadine Hendricks (Spring 2021)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/df65v887f?locale=en


A Grief Ministry

Creating A Safe Space To Do The Work Of Grieving

By: Nadine Hendricks McElroy


Until recently, most of the studies concerning grief, mourning, and bereavement were done by a psychiatrist and dealt with Educated White Americans and Europeans, predominantly white Christian widows.

Little work has been done on African American grief compared to other ethnic groups as it relates to their grief journey.

The purpose of this study is to create a safe space to examine African American's reaction to grief in a congregation of believers with a particular interest in parishioners who have lost their spouse. Ministries are the church's life, and through them, we minister to one another, giving life and new meaning to those who have suffered a loss. Death had left them with open wounds that needed time to heal. To heal without criticism, without judgment, or labels applied to them by those who knew them and those who did not. A place where they were free to walk into their truths, to cry, to lament, to grieve, to mourn, and to share with others who had suffered the same loss they are experiencing and their story of grieving. To do what was right for them, not what others thought and expected of them. The necessity of creating this safe space provided them the means and the opportunity to grieve in their way and in their own time. This small group ministry resulted in providing this safe space. It allowed them to share not only their feelings of grief and vulnerability but also allowed them to connect as a community through the sharing of their stories and standing on the word of God through scripture and experience. By telling and sharing their grief journey, they will be able to grieve, lament, mourn, and heal with one another while praising God, knowing that this too shall pass.


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