Calera church offering grief support group

CALERA – A Calera church is offering a support group for those who are grieving the death of a loved one.

GriefShare at Concord Church is set to begin on Aug. 15. The group meets weekly and the leaders of the group have all experienced the death of a loved one and want to help others who are going through difficult grief journeys.

The facilitator of the group is Glenda Osburn and the co-facilitator is Bessie Dean.

GriefShare is a Bible-based program, which is part of a network of support groups at more than 12,000 churches worldwide. The program is open to people of any age or denomination. A loss to one may be a spouse, but to another it may be a sibling, parent, close relative or in-law or friend.

Each session opens and closes with a prayer. The group offers a 12- to 13-week curriculum of lessons with videos and group discussions. The videos and lessons range from the journey and challenges of grief, to how a loved one’s death can affect friendship and other relationships, to finding new motivation and meaning in life afterward. Each module is self-contained so participants can start at any given week to receive help.

The lessons include workbook exercises to complete at home. Journaling ideas, feelings or remembered thoughts and taking notes in class is encouraged.

Telling your story of loss is not required at any time, but members are allowed to share if they’d like. The group’s goal is to offer friendship and a sense of security for members.

Osburn said one of the first things she learned while attending a GriefShare program at another church is that one’s identity changes upon death.

“At one time, I was a grown daughter, and later became a wife and raised a family,” she said. “It was part of my identity and purpose in life for over five decades. From 2004 to 2014, I had a new identity as a caregiver for my parents and husband. When all my children were grown, I no longer raised a family. When my parents passed away, I was no longer a daughter. When I lost my husband, I was no longer a wife. Neither was I a caregiver. Never did I expect to lead a GriefShare group, as I do not talk well in front of a group. However, I consider it a blessing from God to help someone else.”

Osburn has plans to expand the program by offering one cycle from August to October and then another from January to April. In early November, the group will give a two-hour presentation about how to cope with grief during the holidays.

The group meets at 6:30 p.m. at Concord Church, 11215 Shelby County 22, every Wednesday in Room 110 of the main building. There is a $15 fee that covers the cost of the workbook. Walk-ins are welcome, or registration can be completed at Concordchurch.tv.com.