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African American Faith Based Bereavement Initiative.

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Presentation on theme: "African American Faith Based Bereavement Initiative."— Presentation transcript:

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2 African American Faith Based Bereavement Initiative

3 Module 6 What Congregations Can Do Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me: because the Lord has anointed me…he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified

4 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Empty Arms I Samuel 1:13 NIV …I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.

5 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Congregations must respond Families report that no one seems to know about their loss Families feel that when others know, they avoid them or avoid talking about the loss There is no word in English for a person who has lost a child When there is no support, families may stop attending church

6 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Making invisible loss visible Develop a protocol for sharing information about pregnancy and infant loss: – Who will be contacted by families that want to share their loss, – How will the information be shared (during services, in bulletins, via listserv, through the existing bereavement ministry group, etc.) – What information will be shared—how to contact the family, do they want to be contacted, where can donations be made, do they need dinners, help with their other children, etc.

7 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Making invisible loss visible Publicize the congregation’s desire to learn about these losses so they can provide support—this needs to be some sort of ongoing effort, since it is only when a loss occurs that a family may actually tune into the information.

8 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Knowledge Can Increase Comfort – Host workshops about these types of losses. Invite the entire congregation including the Pastor(s) to attend. Possible partners include: Local Hospital Obstetric/Neonatal Departments Local Obstetricians/Neonatologists Local March of Dimes Local Fetal and Infant Mortality Review project Local Healthy Start Program

9 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Knowledge Can Increase Comfort – Developing and sharing with the congregation a pamphlet with information about pregnancy and infant loss and suggestions about what to say to families and how to support them, both immediately after the loss and over the coming years. – Support the pastor with information to be included in sermons on the topic.

10 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC What congregations can do Discuss with Pastor/Clergy ways to include a special prayer on Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days or other holidays to acknowledge bereaved mothers/fathers and families who have experienced these types of losses. Also, if possible, include a poem or reflection in the bulletin to further acknowledge them.

11 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC What congregations can do Acknowledge the loss by sending cards to the families: – On the occasion of the loss – On the scheduled birthday – On the anniversary of the death – On Mother’s Day/Father’s Day

12 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC What congregations can do Hold a special “Celebration of Life” service and invite the bereaved families as well as the community. Create ongoing opportunities to recognize the loss and memorialize the baby

13 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC A Family Voice—What congregations can do.

14 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Create Leadership and Support Programs for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Learning about bereavement through self- reflection about their own bereavement experiences and learning about how others grieve. Learning how to acknowledge these losses and how to help other congregants to feel comfortable and knowledgeable about supporting grieving families.

15 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Create Leadership and Support Programs for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Developing a cadre of volunteers to be a listening ear for families. Providing pamphlets, booklets and books to families in need of support. Maintaining information on church bulletin boards and/or websites about pregnancy and infant loss resources within the church and in general. Beginning a bereavement support group specifically for this type of loss or providing space for it.

16 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Resource The Community Tool Box, an on-line site to help community-based organizations has an good resources on setting up and running support groups at: Community Tool Box Or Google Community Tool Box and search the site for “peer support groups”.

17 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC Forgotten family grievers: the children (siblings), grandparents, extended family Mark 4: 36-37: Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as he was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great storm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.(NKJ)

18 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC What congregations can do Learn about sibling grief, the special grief of grandparents, and other extended family members If possible, send cards to the children, grandparents, and extended family separate from that which is sent to the parents.

19 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC What congregations can do Develop resources for families that also includes material for children, grandparents, and extended family members Provide information regarding support groups for children and encourage parents to allow children to participate in the groups

20 Module 6 AAFBBI Curriculum ©2011 NCCC A Compassionate Force Remember in the African American church, the congregation is Abusua Ye Dom for African Americans.


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