The Samuel Still Association of the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts is sponsoring a grief workshop entitled - Healing Grief - A Christian Understanding of Loss. It will be held at the First Baptist Church of Arlington on Saturday, October 1, from 1 PM to 4 PM, and will be lead by the church's pastor, Dr. Jon Dale Hevelone.
The workshop will address providing Christian care for those who are experiencing grief and loss. At the time of bereavement many look to the church for strength and hope. A belief system that is grounded in Christian understandings of life and death issues can have a profound value to someone whose world has been altered by death and loss.
The main points to be addressed are:
Bereavement Basics - This is what we need to know to feel comfortable around a difficult topic.
Helping Grief Heal - Building a set of skills to help someone as they grieve.
What About Faith? - Where is God in this, and what is the difference between good and bad faith?
Discovering Volunteer Helpers - How to develop competent Christian caregivers who make a difference.
Dr. Hevelone is an experienced counselor and pastor whose passion is to teach people ways of Christian caring. He holds a TH.M. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a M.A. in Counseling from Louisiana Tech University, and a D.Min. in psychology and clinical studies from Andover Newton Theological School He is a ADEC Certified Thanatologist, NBCC National Certified Counselor, and an AAMFT Clinical Fellow.
Any questions or plan to attend, please call the church office.
My thoughts have turned to prayer this morning. Prayer for our country after last night’s presidential debate. Prayer for my sister who lives with constant pain. Prayer for a family member who is stressed over his job situation. Prayer for my grandchildren as they go off to school and are out from under the protection of their parents’ care. Prayer for Jon’s grief workshop on Saturday. Prayer for our church as we forge ahead with new fall programs which special prayer for those who lead in teaching and worship.
Along with asking for God’s help and blessings, I thank God for answered prayer. Thanks for our country and the freedoms we have. Thanks for church members who have been ill and are recovering. Thanks for answered prayers for a friend who found a job after being out of work for seven months. Thanks for knowing that God is with family members even when I can’t be. Thanks for being a part of a wonderful church family. Thanks to God for loving us enough that he sent his only Son to die for our sins.
Within the women’s ministry of the church it has been suggested that some of the ladies make prayer shawls for those who are sick. I love to crochet and have been thinking that if we do this and people wrap the shawls around themselves, they would feel the love of the one who made them and of the love from others in the church. I envision people being wrapped in prayer and in love. Didn’t Jesus himself say, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another.” John 13:35 It seems that prayer and love go hand in hand.
Who are we?
“I’m a diehard Red Sox fan for life.”
“I’m a working mother and it’s all I can do to keep up with my family and my busy life.”
“I’m in middle school and play on the junior varsity team!”
“I am a financial advisor who helps people like you.”
“I’m a Republican.”
“I was laid off.”
“I’ve been driving a truck for 23 years and love it. No boss breathing down my neck.”
There’s a line I used to hear many preachers use that I like. I used it Sunday in my own sermon: “If you were on trial for being a Christian, is there enough evidence to convict you?”
In many ways the quip is not just a flippant sound bite, but rather a profound question, and one that, if taken seriously, can lead to profitable soul searching. It can be revealing to ask of ourselves what others see in us that speaks to our Christian faith.
In so many other areas of life it’s easy to see what a person’s true values, their true love, their true identity is all about. Have you ever had to guess about what gets a Red Sox fanatic excited when David Ortiz hits yet another homer in his grand finale?
Sometimes we must struggle with whatever it is that captures our hearts and forms our identify. It’s easy to get caught up in the materialism and egotism so prevalent in our world today. We think we — and others — are defined by possessions, status, and appearance.
Sometimes we must choose if we are to follow Jesus Christ. The need for choice may come at unexpected places in our life. Maybe we must review long held convictions and decide if they are shaped more by habit, tradition, prejudice or self-interest than by Jesus. Maybe we must reexamine our relationships with others if they are to reflect the love of God.
The Christian landscape is littered with churches filled with folks who are members, but who would hardly consider themselves first of all to be disciples, followers of Jesus Christ. The working mother stretched to her limits desperately needs Christ at the core of her soul. The Republican — or Democrat — whose values and wisdom are shaped by King Jesus will be a far more valuable citizen on earth. The middle schooler solidly on Jesus’ team will not be alone in navigating the cliques and intrigues of adolescent life.
Who are we, if not followers of Jesus? What is our core identity? Unfortunately, we all too often are shaped by the prevailing winds that blow across our lives. “If you were on trial for being a Christian, is there enough evidence to convict you?” I must look at that myself. Should you?
Ecclesiastes 3: 1 - 8 tells us that for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
Of course, there are seasons. Right now our season of summer is coming to an end. Of course, it doesn’t feel like that as the unusual streak of hot weather continues.
Summer is a time for vacation and beach days! It’s a time for swimming and most recently a time for the Olympics. No skiing or ice skating this go round. It’s not the season for that.
O f course there are seasons, you New Englanders would say. In the south where I grew up we didn’t have the clear distinctions between seasons. You grew up enjoying the joy of a warm, green spring after the gray and cold winter. The daylight lengthens and we get the urge to dig in the dirt and plant flowers that will blossom into a bright array of colors.
Then comes our current season with relaxation and outdoor fun. But already the next season approaches. We see ads for back-to-school sales. Teachers’ cars are seen in school parking lots as they look over class lists and decorate bulletin boards. I was a part of that for many years and even now long to buy notebooks and pens to begin the new season. I will confess that a package came from Amazon the other day. It was the size of a book so I handed if to Jon thinking it was something he had ordered. But, surprise, it was a set of pen I had ordered for myself. After all, it is time to get ready to go back-to-school.
Now, I am am busy reviewing curriculum for new Sunday School classes and Bible studies. Fall programming is foremost in my mind. With the new school year we look forward to the beautiful fall colors and apple and pumpkin picking. Fall is a special time in New England.
But we all know what comes after fall. Limited sunlight, short days and bitter cold. How appropriate that our wonderful Christian holiday of Christmas comes just when we need it most. Already there is talk about the Christmas Pageant among my grandchildren.
Our great joy as Christians is that our God travels with us as we go through the various seasons of life. As we look back, we can see how he has lead us this far. As we look ahead we know the he will go before us and is now beside us guiding us through the seasons.