Verbum et Ecclesia
versão On-line ISSN 1609-9982
BOSHOFF, Willem S.. Local congregations as facilitators of collective grieving. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2012, vol.33, n.1, pp. 1-9. ISSN 1609-9982. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ve.v33i1.726.
Local congregations as facilitators of collective grieving. Since 1990 South Africa has been characterised by far-reaching change in all spheres of society. A recent PhD dissertation completed at the University of Pretoria described the loss members of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) experience because of the rapid change. Experiences of loss are common enough to be described as collective experiences of a community. Resulting grief processes are long standing and unresolved. Grieving is the normal human response to loss, but many DRC members (and probably the denomination and the whole Afrikaans community), got stuck because of unresolved grief dynamics. The main contribution of this article is to argue that local communities of faith can serve its members and the community by accepting the task to initiate and guide collective grief processes. Intentional grief is seen as a ministry of hope, resulting in a new and more appropriate identity.