SoWal Community Chaplain
When Christ Has Risen, But You are Still Grieving…
by Emily Rose Proctor
Although Easter can be a joyful time, as Christians celebrate the resurrection and the hope of eternal life, it doesn’t halt the grieving that happens when a loved one passes or a marriage comes to an end, even for those with strong faith. That’s why I’m so grateful for ongoing grief support groups, like the ones offered by Good News United Methodist Church (GNUMC) and Community Church of Santa Rosa Beach. An up-to-date listing of local support groups of all types are on my website at https://www.sowalchaplain.org/resources/support-groups/.
The GNUMC Grief Group meets on the fourth Thursday of every month at 2 p.m., upstairs at Good News United Methodist Church (4747 US. Hwy 98 W in Santa Rosa Beach), and is facilitated by members Anne and Sam Davis and retired psychologist Wayne Richard and his wife Andrea. Both couples are older and have lost children, some to suicide. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences because of the healing effect that often has, but it’s not required. Everyone receives a copy of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s book, On Grief and Grieving too. For more information about the group, please contact GNUMC office at 850-622-9191.
Another community-based grief support group in South Walton is the “Learning Through Loss” group, which meets upstairs at The Community Church of Santa Rosa Beach (3524 US Hwy 98 W, Santa Rosa Beach), on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. (May 7 – May 21), and on Monday evenings at 6 p.m. during the month of June. The mission of “Learning through Loss” is “to provide education, coping skills and support during times of loss and grief.” The hour-long sessions, which average 6-10 attendees, are facilitated by Rev. C.C. Whittinghill and Robin Tharpe. Rev. C.C.’s seminary degree and years as a hospice chaplain, as well as her own experiences with grief and loss, more than qualify her as a facilitator, but the group also occasionally invites guest speakers who have particular expertise to share.
Rev. C.C. emphasizes that the “Learning Through Loss” group is for those affected by any kind of loss; divorce, job loss, the incarceration of a family member, or the death of a loved one. Many of the members of the grief group have also developed friendships that have led to social outings and meals together. People attend during various phases of their grieving process, from just a few weeks after their loss to even decades later, as many realize that grieving is a process and a lifelong journey. For the past two years, this group has also hosted an ecumenical worship service of healing and remembrance for those grieving a loss during the Christmas holidays. For more information about these or future sessions, please contact Rev. CC at 423-618-4849 or the Church office at 850-267-2599.
Most of us have experienced a significant loss at some point in our lives, and if we haven’t yet, we will in the future. Some of us may have good support from our friends, family, churches or other community groups, but many of us would benefit from a dedicated time and space occasionally to connect with others who are experiencing similar challenges. If there are other grief groups or support groups that you’d like for me to include, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, friends don’t let friends grieve alone!
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