Local churches address holidays, grief

Local churches address holidays, grief The Vermillion Ministerial Association, acknowledging that holidays can be very painful times for many people, announces several upcoming opportunities for those in the community to address their grief.

A six-week grief group will be conducted at Trinity Lutheran Church on Thursdays at 7 p.m. beginning Nov. 28. Please call the church at 624-4442 for details.

There will be a special service of "Advent Prayers for Those Who Weep" at The United Church of Christ on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. This simple service is for those who have lost loved ones through death, divorce or distance and who find that holiday times are mixed with sadness.

Ann Bolson, associate pastor at the UCC Church, is a former psychotherapist. Regarding grief, she shares these thoughts: "Many of us from northern European backgrounds have little knowledge of how to experience or enter into grief," she said. "I once heard a chaplain from the Mayo Clinic describe the common phenomenon of Scandinavian widowers going through every service in the medical system trying to find a diagnosis. When all else failed, they went to the chaplaincy program to address their grief.

"In the Middle East, people express grief through wailing or keening. In the Native American culture there is a ritual call 'The Wiping of Tears.' We have no such ritual in Christianity," she continued. "As we say in psychotherapy, 'the only way out of pain is through it.' It is senseless to expend energy avoiding grief. We must find settings where it is safe to enter it and to ask God to bless and redeem it. Jung said, and I believe him, that that which we repress will destroy us."

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