The Coronavirus pandemic has led to many thousands of deaths across the UK, in addition to the usual 600,000 per annum. There will be millions of people grieving at this time, whether from the loss of someone from Covid-19 or another cause during this period, or because they are still grieving someone from before. Much of this grief will be complicated and the usual support structures have been restricted.
Since the pain of bereavement tends to become acute some while after the death, bereavement charities are expecting ‘a tsunami of grief’ over forthcoming months, which there is not the capacity to deal with. There is concern that without support now, bereaved people will face a large number of potential negative outcomes, including mental health issues now or in the future.
Churches developing support and reaching out to bereaved people in their locality over the coming weeks and months could not be more important. We have therefore been working hard to enable churches to offer The Bereavement Journey course for bereaved people in their area to provide a UK wide church response to the pandemic.
We want to encourage churches across the UK to offer online The Bereavement Journey courses now and face to face courses when restrictions ease, so that the bereaved across our nation can find help and hope in the Church. We will provide as much help and information as we can to facilitate churches to do so.
What is The Bereavement Journey Course?
The Bereavement Journey is a six-session course of films and discussion to help bereaved people process their loss.
It helps people with all types of bereavement (at any time) and of any faith or none, as the first 5 sessions cover general bereavement implications and the 6th session is optional, offering a Christian perspective to the faith questions often asked in loss.
Having run successfully for 25 years at Holy Trinity Brompton, it was published in early 2020 to be run widely by churches as an outreach resource, since bereaved people generally seek support.
In October 2020 its founder Jane Oundjian received an MBE for creating the course. See more here.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the course has been adapted for offering online as well as face to face and a range of online training and a dedicated team are available for support.
How can churches run The Bereavement Journey course?
“Running The Bereavement Journey course, online or face to face, is easy.”
Everything churches need is available, including a Leader’s Guide (including Online Leaders’ guide), branded publicity materials, registration and feedback forms, sample communications and training.
All churches need to do is:
*gather a team (a course host, a technical host if running online, as many people as possible to facilitate discussion groups – and, where possible, a trained counsellor for oversight)
*purchase the course pack (only £25 from www.thebereavementjourney.org)
*direct the team to the online training appropriate to them (see here)
*advertise the course to the bereaved in the locality (also possible through The Bereavement Journey website and the AtaLoss.org signposting website for the bereaved).
No knowledge is needed – whether in supporting the bereaved or in managing the technology. All training and support is available including:
- Bereavement Care Awareness (webinar for teams)
- Team Briefing (recording of HTB’s own briefing for the team)
- Opportunity to help on HTB’s online course team (for insight and experience).
- Technical training (recorded and bespoke for those willing to give it a go – it’s not hard)
- Bereavement Friendly Church (church leaders’ webinar to ensure church is accessible to the bereaved)
- Association of Christian Counsellors help in finding a counsellor for the team.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org