Grief support group returns to League St. Church of Christ

By PATTI SELLS, News-Telegram Feature Writer

Sept. 19, 2008 - It's sad to say, but many adults lack coping skills when it comes to dealing with issues of grief, and thus the reason for The Journey Together Grief Support Group hosted for the fourth year by League Street Church of Christ.

"Our generation has learned how to smile and laugh, but we have failed to learn that it is OK to cry and grieve," said Becke Anderson, Church of Christ ministry leader and a hospice volunteer. "We follow-up with grieving hospice families for a year, but it is not enough. Families are so lost when it comes to coping with grief."

Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, whether death, divorce, a job or anything important to you. Though reasons for experiencing grief are varied, the emotions people go through in dealing with it are very much the same, Anderson explained.

"Anger, depression, guilt -- the feelings are the same regardless of the reason," she said. "The goal for the support group is to help others understand that it is OK and necessary to grieve various life changes. Grief is a normal response to sorrow of any kind, but people need to learn to deal with their grief."

Anderson said that participants often attend to grieve issues in their own life, to bring a friend who is grieving, or to learn how to work with grief ministry issues in order to help others.

The Journey Together ministry began in the fall of 2005, with sessions in the spring of 2006 and fall of 2007.

"The Journey Together is a support group, not a Bible class," Anderson said. "Both men and women come. We don't sit around and cry or gripe -- we are there to offer each other support and encouragement. You can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with."

According to Anderson, the support group is a very private and personal group of people meeting together, and confidentiality is a must.

"Whatever is said within the four walls of the group remains private," she emphasized. "In the past, we have found the meetings to be very beneficial. Others often offer very good suggestions and the participants in the group really end up helping each other.

"I am just the facilitator of the group, not the 'know it all,'" she added with a laugh.

Classes will meet every Monday night in October from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at League Street Church of Christ.

"Our hope is that people will leave with a feeling that they can cope, that it's OK to grieve and realize that grief is a very normal part of life," said Anderson. "People just need to be taught how to deal with it."

Call 903-885-1531 to register.

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