In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441
SHIKWATI, Benjamin; MAGEZI, Vhumani and LETSOSA, Rantoa. Bereavement healing ministry amongst Abaluyia: Towards a 'circle for pastoral concern' as a healing model. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.1, pp.1-11. ISSN 2305-0853.
This article formulates a new integrated pastoral care approach to bereavement healing ministry in Africa, termed a circle for pastoral concern. In pursuit of this, the article highlights the pastoral challenge brought about by the occurrence of death and bereavement within the cultural and Christian intermix. Using the example of the Abaluyia of western Kenya, traditional cultural bereavement healing approaches are assessed against the backdrop of Christian influence on the understanding and response to death and bereavement healing and the resultant tension. The article juxtaposes the Abaluyia cultural concept of okhukura [to encircle with loving care] with the biblical koindnia [fellowship, communion] as springboard for building culturally sensitive and biblically sound Christian caring communities. It is hoped that the juxtaposition helps to establish and promote meaningful engagement between therapeutic traditional beliefs and practices, and the gospel. The gospel-culture engagement within a local church setting provides the context in which bereavement healing and individual growth after the death of a significant other takes place. The juxtaposition is necessitated by the rampant practice in African pluralistic societies where Christians consciously, or otherwise, lurch back to cultural approaches in their effort to provide or find healing when faced with death and bereavement. The 'circle for pastoral concern' model encourages inclusiveness by enlisting the means and talents of the community of believers, both ordained and lay. The principle of inclusion ensures that the load of pastoral care is shared and assumes a deeper response due to diversity of gifts and talents within the caring community.