Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Jack Steven Davis
Grief, Support, Resource, Church, Ministry, Presence
Ilunga, Ngoy Nadine, "A Study of Support for the Bereaved in the Local Congregation" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3342.
The bereaved often face the ongoing challenges of grief with little support from the Church. This study aimed to resource the Church with practical methodologies to help congregants cope with grief. The study examined the troubling issues the bereaved experience after the death of a loved one. Survey data was collected from ten United Methodist members and had lost an immediate family member within the past five years. The measure consisted of interviews and questionnaires. An email and a verbal announcement during church worship service built the sample. Findings reveal that approximately 90% of participants experienced grief and emotional effects after losing a significant person in their lives. Initially, participants reported that they were encouraged and supported by the Church's efforts to provide pastoral care and meaningful worship experiences during the funeral of loved ones. However, once the funeral was over, they were left alone to face the reality of death and grief. A small percentage (10%) of the participants reported never receiving support from the Church. Thus, it has been hard for many to attend worship on Sunday morning and church activities. This study underlines presence as an effective ministry to help the bereaved cope with grief. The researcher used the qualitative data from interviews and questionnaires to outline practical methodologies to provide meaningful and effective grief care ministry to congregants suffering from grief. Pastors and congregations interested in increasing service to those suffering from grief to take advantage of the provided practical methodologies to help congregants with grief.