NEW HAVEN — A new support group to help residents through periods of grief has begun in the Bend Area.
The “Isaiah 61:3 Grief Support Group” is being led by Pastor Tom Beckett and Rev. Patrice Weirick. The group meets at the New Haven Public Library on the fourth Thursday of each month. Two times are offered to allow all who want to participate a convenient time, at either 10 a.m. or 6:30 p.m.
“Everyone goes through grief at some time,” said Rev. Weirick. “It helps us to move through those tough times if we talk about it.”
While most think of grief as something one experiences when a loved one dies, Pastor Beckett said there are many other reasons one might grieve.
“There are all types of grief,” he said. “It might be from a longtime relationship that broke up, financial issues, a terminal or debilitating illness, or loneliness.”
Having met for the past two months, Pastor Beckett said one older man comes who lost his job at a plant, can’t find another job, and is facing bankruptcy.
The name of the group comes from the Bible book of Isaiah, chapter 61, verse 3: “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” (KJV)
Pastor Beckett, who leads the New Haven United Methodist Church, said while the program is faith-based neither he, nor Rev. Weirick of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, push people toward a church or a denomination. That is the reason the group meets at the library.
“We didn’t want anyone to feel this was denominational,” he said. “It is faith-based, but we don’t want people to feel there is pressure to join a church. We want to listen, encourage, empathize, and pour our hearts out. We are not therapists, but we’re there mainly to share.”
Rev. Weirick agreed, adding instead of a clinical setting, the group offers a comfortable and familiar one to give hope and let faith in God get them through the process.
Pastor Beckett said the group will share information from Kenneth Haugk’s series, “Journeying Through Grief,” which includes four books – “A Time to Grieve,” “Experiencing Grief,” “Finding Hope and Healing,” and “Rebuilding and Remembering.” He emphasized, however, that the group will never be a “step program,” and people can attend at any time without feeling like they have missed something.
“Most of all, we want to encourage each other through like-experiences,” he said. “Encourage other people to know they’re not alone. Grief can last six months or six years, there’s no time frame.”
The next meeting will be Feb. 22 at either 10 a.m. or 6:30 p.m. All are welcome and there is no cost to attend.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.