Today would have been their wedding anniversary. Two months ago his birthday passed, and no one from the church remembered as she grieved in silence. Will anyone mention their anniversary today?
The first year of grieving the loss of a loved one is filled with firsts: the first birthday without him, the first Christmas without her, the first anniversary alone knowing he will never be back.
With the hectic schedules of daily life, it is too easy for the church to let these days of deep grief pass without helping the surviving family member(s) as they walk this lonely new path of life.
The process should have begun a long time ago by ensuring the church management system (ChMS) has the following information on each person:
Once a month, run a report in your ChMS for key dates related to people who died within the past year. On the report include the name and contact information for surviving family members. Here are sample searches:
Schedule time one or two days per month to write cards to the surviving family member(s) who are a part of your church or community. Yes, cards such as sympathy, birthday, anniversary, and ‘thinking of you' will mean so much more than an email. Personalized stationery also works well.
This gesture will mean a lot to people as they realize they are not forgotten on these painful days of that first year.
What other ways have you found to provide comprehensive pastoral care during this first year?
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/ leadinglights
Steve's passion is to help ministers and churches do ministry in our new digital, social, mobile world at the speed of life through building a strong ministry infrastructure (minfrasTructure). With a background in church administration, Christian education, missions, and technology, he offers advice, tips, and tools through writing, blogging, speaking, online courses, consulting, and personal coaching.