Sue Kruger, chaplain at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center, had been receiving requests from the community for a grief support group.
She decided to convene a group, which included Ministry hospice and two local pastors. Ministry Good Samaritan added its bereavement coordinator, social worker, and chaplain. Rotating facilitators were put in place so that two people were present each month, but on overlapping schedules, so that attendees would have continuity from month to month.
Chris Schmelling, the hospital’s bereavement coordinator, offered suggestions on content and group structure based on her many years of experience as a group facilitator. Chris and Dianne Harrington organized materials used as starting points for discussions, and handouts, which are handed off each month to the next facilitator.
Liz Sheahan, from Ministry Home Care community outreach, developed brochures which Sue and the local pastors distributed locally. Liz sends monthly press releases to all local media to promote the grief support group. An email is also sent to all facilitators after each session to let them know how things went with each support group. The group generally attracts 3-5 participants per month. The meeting planners adjust the content, varying from support to education, based on feedback or the needs of the support group members.
It may seem as though only a small number of people are being reached, but it is meeting a community need while assisting individuals when they are most in need of assistance.
This is a great example of a “One Ministry” collaboration with the community and local pastors.