GriefShare group offered to community

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Cassville United Methodist Church will soon be offering GriefShare, a program for residents grieving the death of a loved one.

"There was a need for a support group in Cassville," said Andy Lambel, pastor at the church. "Our church's vision is engaging in authentic relationships with the community around us to share the faith, hope and love of Jesus Christ through passionate worship, contagious fellowship and acts of service, and we offer GriefShare to our community in an act of service.

"Many people in the Cassville area are hurting, and removing the weight of traveling to another city helps to ease the burden."

The program, which was previously offered earlier this year, will be held on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. beginning Sept. 9 at the United Methodist Church, and will run for 13 weeks. However, since each session is a complete lesson, persons may join the group at any time.

The program's primary mission is offering support during a time of loss, and each session includes a video presentation about loss followed by group discussion.

"Often, candid talk helps each person better understand what takes place when grieving," said David Samuel, group facilitator. "We equip ourselves with a tool bag that helps us work through our grief."

Samuel, who lost his wife three years ago, has been conducting GriefShare sessions at the church since January.

"First of all, we acknowledge God is our counselor," Samuel said. "Every week, we view a video featuring experts in the field of grief, death, and dying, and persons who have suffered their own personal loss and how GriefShare has helped them. It takes a lot of courage to face your grief, and too many persons seem to think needing a support group means you are weak -- this is so far from being true."

Samuel described grief not as an event, but as a process.

"Grief is a process we have to work through -- God meets us halfway," he said. "God strengthens us to do the work we need to do so we can move forward in joy. The church's goal is to offer comfort and encouragement to those who lost someone close to them. During the small group discussion, participants will have the opportunity to interact with others' experiences."

Lambel said participants can expect to find healing and joy from working through the process of grief, which includes sharing feelings with others.

"Each will find there is healing from grief, and that mourning can become joy again," he said. "GriefShare is a Bible-based study and support where participants not only share their experiences, but hear encouraging words from the Bible, from which we can find our strength. Participants are additionally given a GriefShare workbook to reflect on daily between each of the sessions."

Samuel said participants report finding joy in life again after attending the group and comfort in knowing that what they are experiencing is normal.

For more information on attending the GriefShare group, people may call Samuel at 417-342-0050 or Lambel at 417-847-2328. For more information on GriefShare in general, people may visit Griefshare.org.

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