Title

Death and grief: A proposed 'cycle of compassion'

Date of Award

January 1991

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

DMin

Abstract

This project dissertation entitled 'Death and Grief: A Proposed 'Cycle of Compassion'' hinged on two hypotheses which received a favorable hearing at the Lakeside United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Alabama January 1990. The first hypothesis stated that the church is the important place for teaching grief awareness and resolution. Hypothesis Two asserted that a cycle of compassion is a process that the minister can develop with the congregation to overcome death and grief.

There were several reasons why these hypotheses were operant in this project dissertation. Hypothesis One was validated because people do gather at church and problems with grief will always be a part of the human predicament. Moreover, this hypothesis espoused the belief that grief has to become a conscious reality before it can be resolved. Hypothesis Two rightly assumed that the minister and congregation are human agents of divine comparison to the bereaved.

The significance of this study for other congregations lay in the fact that it brought together a coalition of several ministry emphases---evangelism, missions, worship and Christian education---through which the cycle of compassion may find development and fruition. The cycle of compassion fills the void after the crowd thins out and the banquet is over. It also moves immediately to settle down with the griever in an extended period of grief sharing and healing. Through it all, God takes the initiative in putting our shattered lives back together again.