Faith & Grief Ministries provides opportunities for comfort and hope to those who have experienced the death of a loved one. Faith & Grief values:
- Gifts of all spiritual beliefs
- Community that understands the complexity of grief
- Compassion revealed in silence, tears and laughter
- Stories that speak truth and promote wholeness
When we say that Faith & Grief Ministries (F&GM) is ‘multi-faith’ – we mean that we recognize the value of faith – all faith - as an essential component of human life. Faith as trust in the ground of all being. And faith as the source of hope is an essential component of living through grief and becoming changed but hopeful beings ourselves.
Addressing grief has always seemed to me to be a place where we can find common ground with all people, regardless of their faith background. Grief is a natural byproduct of love, a reaction to a loss of one who has helped us become who we are. Faith presents both blocks and healing for one who grieves, no matter the tradition. Blocks often come in the form of the question ‘Why? Why did this happen to the one I love? And to me?’ What could be more human? In Christianity, an image of God as personal protector can leave some blocked by anger or rejecting God entirely when bad things happen to good people. What kind of God saves some from the destruction of 9/11 and not others or allows a pandemic to ravage the world? In our multi-faith environment, Faith & Grief Ministries offers ways to address the ‘Why’s’ and therefore free the hope which all of us could use more of in these days of the coronavirus.
‘Multi-faith’ is not the same as ‘interfaith’. In today’s world, especially in this climate of heightened concerns for racial equity, we are learning to better value and show compassion for each and every human life on this earth. In my tradition, we find impetus for that in the life and works of Jesus. In the Buddhist faith, some portion is through their wisdom on suffering. In Jewish synagogues – the practice of tsadik stands out. I cannot presume to define that for another faith (or for others of my own!) – but I know this. Coming together in fullness of our faith is not about finding the common denominator among faiths, for that can water down faith’s power. Rather, it is about each of us digging deeply enough into our own faith tradition to name and live into what reminds us of our connection to all of creation. From that place of compassion, we can find plenty of room to learn from one another about that very universal human experience we call grief.
About the Author
Rev. Wendy Fenn is a co-founder of Faith & Grief Ministries (faithandgrief.org). She retired from being Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Dallas, TX. Previously, she was Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Care at a non-profit hospice in Dallas. She received a Master of Divinity from Perkins Theological Seminary and a Master in Family Studies from TWU.