This is a page of information for those who would be interested in hosting a Living with Loss Workshop at their church or community centre.
Click to download Living With Loss Workshop Leaflet (PDF): LivingWithLossWorkshop.Advert
ARE THERE PEOPLE IN YOUR CHURCH OR COMMUNITY WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH LIFE FOLLOWING BEREAVEMENT?
Then the Living with Loss project could be for you. Our goal is to support people as they find their way forward after life-changing loss.
We run weekend workshops designed for adults 18 and over who are coping with grief following bereavement, such as:
- Widows and widowers
- Parents who have lost children
- Adults who have lost parents or siblings
- Those who have lost close friends or multiple family members.
- Those bereaved by suicide and other traumatic deaths.
Living with Loss Grief Support Workshops are for 8 to 20 participants. The workshops are a mixture of led sessions, moderated discussions and creative activities, with some gentle Christian content.
We would be happy to come to your church to lead a workshop. Please read on for more information.
REASONS TO HOST A WORKSHOP
Bereavement can be life-changing. There are almost certainly people in your church and community who are struggling since the loss of a close loved one.
They might be facing overwhelming emotions and unanswered questions; they might be dealing with practical and financial changes. They might be lonely, angry, depressed, heartbroken, anxious, sad, feeling guilty, unable to sleep, eating too much or too little, confused, despairing, fearful of the future, or any of the normal processes of grief.
A workshop or retreat cannot answer everyone’s questions nor provide complete relief from the pain of grief, but it can help those who are grieving find ways to express themselves, discover that they are not alone, and explore strategies for continuing on their life’s journey.
So much about grief is unspoken. We provide the opportunity to speak about it in a safe, supportive environment.
It is our hope that the workshop will be a supplement to any other support the participants are already receiving, perhaps from your pastoral team, a counsellor or a peer support group. However, it is also possible that some people might not have been getting any help.
[Please note: The event is not appropriate for those who have not been bereaved but are suffering loss from other causes, such as divorce and disability, although the bereaved may also face those issues.]
“We recently hosted a ‘Living with Loss’ course at our church. Abi led it in such a sensitive and moving way, that all who came left feeling that they had significantly found a new way of coping with their grief. I would recommend it to anyone who feels they need a safe place to express their grief and are looking for a way to help them see hope as they journey on.” — Sharon Seal, Parish of St Giles and St George, Ashtead in Surrey
WHAT TO EXPECT
- The workshop consists of 4 sessions, approximately 3 hours each.
- This is usually spread over the two days of the same weekend, but it can also be held as a “Part 1” and “Part 2” on separate weekends, provided your location is close enough to where we live for this to be practical.
- Within the led sessions, there are opportunities for discussion, some creative approaches and some simple crafts.
- We provide all of the materials.
- It is recommended that participants attend every session, if at all possible, but at the very least the first session is essential, as this sets the foundation for the weekend.
- Note: We try to make the workshops accessible to those with moderate hearing loss, but anyone with severe hearing or vision impairments may struggle to take part.
Please see below for the programme.
- We don’t need much from you – basically a meeting room with chairs, tables and a flipchart. A second room is a bonus, something that can be set up in a more relaxed way.
- Tea and coffee, with biscuits/cake for break times.
- Buffet lunch, or if you prefer, participants could be asked to bring their own packed lunches.
- Our charge is £20 per participant, reduced to £10 for pastoral helpers, plus mileage (0.45 p per mile – we live in ST3).
- We may also need accommodation depending on distance from Stoke-on-Trent.
- Most ‘hosts’ offer us an additional goodwill gift, which we greatly appreciate.
- You can decide how much to charge those attending, although it will need to cover your own expenses and our payment.
- You will need to take care of bookings and collecting payments.
- It is mostly up to you to advertise and promote the event.
- We provide a template for posters and fliers, and social media advertising if you wish for it to be publicised.
- You will probably want to talk about the Workshop in your church and/or advertise to other churches in the vicinity. (The event is ecumenical.)
- People are understandably nervous about attending an event on such a serious and personal subject, and will often need some encouragement. We can take calls if anyone wishes to speak with us personally.
- If you have a pastoral care team, we recommend at least some of them take part in the workshop, so that they can follow up with the participants. It is also a help to have them available for chatting and personal prayer during the workshop, particularly if there are more than 12 participants.
- Depending on the distance (we live in Stoke-on-Trent), we do ask if it is possible for us to arrive the day prior to the workshop, so we can get everything set up and ready.
- Although we would expect everybody who attends the Workshop to be bereaved, you might want to allow bereaved people to bring a friend or family member as a personal supporter.
- We cannot run the event with less than 6 people.
Session 1, Saturday morning: The Grief Journey
- Includes: The emotional, practical and spiritual impact of bereavement; the length, depth and breadth of grief; grief and the Christian; ways of coping with our feelings.
Session 2, Saturday afternoon: Bonds of Love – the Mosaic of Life
- Includes: Our relationship through memory with our loved ones; healthy grief and “continuing bonds”, remembrance ideas. There are some simple craft activities in this session.
Session 3, Sunday morning: Candlelighting service “in hope and memory”
- This is a service that includes a time of reflection, songs and prayer in memory of our loved ones and for our own life’s journey. This is followed with time for individual chats and prayer.
Session 4, Sunday afternoon: Life strategies for the journey ahead
- Includes: Finding balance in our lives – grieving and living; being kind to ourselves and what this means in practice; taking the steps we need to live in the changed circumstances of our lives.
READY TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS OR FIND OUT MORE?
Please contact me with any questions.
I am presently taking bookings for events from May 2020 onwards.
We have been leading Living with Loss retreats for the past four years in locations including:
- Lee Abbey in Devon
- Launde Abbey in Leicestershire
- The Briery Retreat Centre in Yorkshire
- The Greenhouse Christian Centre in Dorset
FEEDBACK AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Based on the feedback we received from a workshop in June 2019, 100% agreed they were glad they had attended; 100% thought the event was interesting with a good variety of activities, and 100% would recommend this to other bereaved people.
Some reactions from participants at different events:
“It is well worth (attending a Living with Loss retreat) no matter what your experience, or the length of time since your bereavement. You will not be pressurised in any way or at any time and you will find yourself in an environment which is supportive and kind, and where you can just be yourself. It will undoubtedly be helpful for you.”
“The content of the bereavement sessions was excellent and the approach varied, interactive and all very clearly presented.”
“I thought Abi led the sessions with sensitivity and compassion.”
“This was a first class retreat which I found extremely helpful.”
“I had no idea, really, what to expect this week. I am returning home feeling assured that I will survive and continue to take ‘small steps’ on my journey.”