Losing a loved one can be one of life’s most difficult challenges. At times people might feel like they are alone in their grief, that no one understands—but grief does not have to be a solitary journey. That’s why Hank Drummond and Phyllis Bailey started the Good Grief Ministry at St. Gregory’s: to help those who are grieving find hope and support in one another.
“We called it the Good Grief Ministry because without faith and hope in God, it would be dark grief,” Hank explains. “Even in death, there is goodness. Only through God can we find it. Having fellow parishioners to support and encourage makes a big difference in whether we can find that goodness.”
The Good Grief Ministry is a relatively new ministry at St. Gregory’s. Launched in November 2015, the group meets on the first Sunday of each month at 11:45 a.m. in the library. All are welcome, including those who do not attend St. Gregory’s. People in all stages of grief are invited to attend. “We have people who lost someone many years ago as well as people who recently lost someone,” Hank says.
Although each session takes its own shape and course, the group typically opens with devotions, then moves to topics specific to the time or that members wish to discuss. In December, for example, they discussed coping with grief at Christmas time. People often share stories and challenges and offer support, with the goal of providing acceptance and encouragement at all stages of grief.
“Nobody is required to participate beyond the level of comfort. You can sit, you can speak, you can do whatever you feel like in terms of participation,” Hank says. “We want the group to be a resource to encourage people in faith and wrap our arms around them in love and support.”
Hank says he has noticed an increased level of fellowship and love between group members. “At church I can already see that there is a bond and overwhelming support,” he says. “Phyllis and I hope this group continues to help people and bring them closer to God.”