Images from Grief and Loss 2021

Images from Grief and Loss 2021

“This was the most impacting and interesting circle to date,” said one student in CCS’s Grief and Loss intensive learning circle, April 28-May 5, 2021. Nine diaconal students gathered online (because, you know, pandemic) for a week to discuss spiritual care in the context of grief and loss. Students shared deeply of their own experiences with loss. (Some stories involved a death, but not all. Grief can also result from the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, a change in identity, the evaporation of a hoped-for future.) A student-led planning team facilitated a session on end of life issues, including MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying). Julie Baker was a special guest, helping students to think though funerals and how to preach a funeral sermon that brings comfort to a family’s and a community’s complicated grief. A virtual tour of the Bardal Funeral Centre and a conversation with funeral director Janice Dryden gave students a behind-the-scenes look at the practicalities of how bodies are cared for after death. Playwright Debbie Patterson read from her play “How It Ends”, a sometimes funny, often inspiring, always thought-provoking reflection on the end of life, based on verbatim interviews. Students drew on the biblical tradition of lament as a tool for expressing grief, wrestled with theological questions of eternal life, and explored pastoral approaches to support people in grief (including brainstorming a list of “things not to say.”

June Anderson was with the group for the week as chaplain. Thank you, June, for accompanying us, providing emotional support and ministry experience.

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