I am excited to announce that we already have three training sites for 2024 and working on several more. The schools already scheduled are in Scottsdale AZ, Ponte Vedra Beach - Jacksonville FL area, and Houston Tx. Several more sites are in development for the year. Please keep checking our Facilitator Training page for updates. Of course, if you faith community wishes to learn more about hosting a training, I would love for you to reach out and begin that conversation. firstname.lastname@example.org
It was great to be able to offer 8 training sites in 2023. I am grateful for each of our host communities at their offering of their space and hospitality thereby making these training opportunities possible.
As we look forward to 2024 we have made changes in our Facilitator Training registration fees and registration periods due to the increase in our costs. These are the first increases in over 15 years. The training continues to be a great value to those who participate and their faith communities. Blessings, Catherine
Grieving has never been easy in our culture, and Covid made it more difficult. Now, even as we move into a post pandemic lives, there are still people in our communities who have been left alone with the pain of loss over the death of someone they loved. Their plans for funerals, for celebrations of the life of the departed with family and friends, were put off again and again, eventually replaced by something smaller or, sometimes, by nothing at all. And if their loved one died from Covid, at least in the early days of the pandemic, there was additional stigma in some family and social circles that brought shame and further separation. The rituals that are a part of our funerals, our memorial services, our gatherings of family and friends, are so important to the grieving process. They are the first steps toward healing and have been a part of faith communities and families for centuries. They help the griever make sense out of the death of a loved one as they begin to reshape their own lives. The ministry of Walking the Mourner’s Path serves those who are struggling with grief. In one and half hour workshops spread over eight consecutive weeks, participants explore the uncharted territory of their grief with others in similar situations, all guided by trained grief facilitators. Research has shown that participants in groups with a specific beginning and end, and with an appropriate curriculum, heal from their grief more quickly than open-ended groups without an established course. In these small-group settings, God’s love and compassion are present.
I am grateful to our church partners that have continued to support the ministry of Walking the Mourner's Path over the last 2 1/2 years. Your steadfast commitment to serve those grieving in your community was heartwarming. Thank you for all the work you have done. Thank you for showing that through asking God to be a part of the pain of grief healing can occur. Thank you for allowing us to help you along the way. Thank you for your continued dedication to the ministry of Walking the Mourner's Path.
"I place my hand in yours and together we can do what I cannot do alone"
I want to thank the churches and facilitators that have found innovative ways to serve those grieving in their communities during the last 2 years and into this year as we have come head to head with each wave of Covid-19.
I am looking forward to again begin training new facilitators that will serve their churches and communities. We have on our calendar early this year four Training Schools. Despite having to reschedule those planned in January and early February, we believe they will go on as planned beginning in March. Two of those schools have waiting lists.
Has your faith community consider hosting a school. We would like to add some more dates to our calendar. If interested, please email me, Catherine Gilbert at email@example.com to begin planning.
Finally, after not being able to offer schools because of Covid, we have opportunities to attend a Facilitator Training School in 2022 already on the calendar and more to follow! The school at Trinity Episcopal Church in The Woodlands is already almost fully booked. Just added to the calendar is a school in Little Rock in January.
Additionally we have a school at Beckwith Center right on the Alabama Gulf Shores in March and another scheduled at St. John's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City MD in April. Keep checking back as schools will continued to be added to our schedule.
The news on the pandemic has finally been hopeful. As I write this the CDC has come out with a new directive that those who are vaccinated may begin to stop wearing masks and gathering. I know my heart is lifted with the news.
As we begin again to plan programing and activities I am excited about again training facilitators and having more faith communities offer the ministry of Walking the Mourners Path. We have begun to schedule trainings for the fall and concrete dates should begin to fill our calendar.
In the meantime, be gentle with those who have suffered the death of a loved one in the pandemic. Be present to them as they again returning to their families and there is an empty place at the table and they are reminded of their loss. Healing is going to take time. We have to be mindful that as are hearts lift with the news of a return to the new normal, for some there is still a heavy heart that grieves.
When the pandemic started I do not believe any of us completely understood the impact and length of virus and how it changed the way we do church. Many churches are offering virtual small groups that have been great to keep individuals connected.
Unfortunately, as wonderful as Zoom is, it does not completely replace in-person church, small groups, and meetings. At Mourner's Path, we decided that in order to fully equip facilitators in the ministry we could not see a pathway to full virtual training. Therefore a Hybrid model has been developed.
We will begin with 3 to 4 Zoom gatherings of 1 1/2 hours each. These gatherings will build a foundation for a ministry to grieving and equip those attending with tools to minister to the grieving until they can complete the training in-person and begin offering the program.
Please contact me to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The virus and our need to create safe spaces has left many of us struggling to how to minister and serve those who are experiencing grief today. Our sacred ritual of gathering together in person to worship, celebrate, and share stories of loved ones who have died is being delayed. As faith communities have changed the way we worship, so too, will we need to change the way we minister. Many churches have in place tools and ministries that can be offered in a new way to the grieving. Look at new ways to offer them. Most of all, remember to keep in touch, phone calls, cards, FaceTime, Zoom are all examples of how we can show and share God's love to those struggling with grief .
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Program Director of this amazing program. Here you will find the most current news about the program and trainings. Plus a few thoughts to help you minister to those who grieve in your faith communities. Blessings.