This letter was written by Gary Hrynoweski, the lead pastor of Lighthouse Church.
COURT HOUSE – Nine years ago, a friend of mine perished in an automobile accident. Steve, his wife, and two children were a significant part of our family. We had children the same age, lived in the same neighborhood, spent holidays together, and loved summer evenings closing the local town pool. His death shook our family because we were like family.
Our children who were nine and eleven years old at the time went with my wife and me to Steve’s funeral service. When we arrived, our daughter didn’t want to go into the room where Steve’s body was. We were sensitive to her needs and encouraged her to only do what she felt comfortable with. I wasn’t surprised by how distressing it was for her to process his death. What I was surprised about was the response of everyone else in the room where Steve’s body was. While there were people mourning, the majority were chit-chatting as if we were at a cocktail party and not a funeral. We were in the midst of a deceased man who tragically lost his life, his wife, and two young children who never got to say goodbye.
We all process and reflect grief differently but I also believe that what I viewed at Steve’s funeral was the defense mechanism of denial. Not acknowledging the reality of death and how intensely it impacts our lives can have adverse effects immediately and in the future.
“THRIVE” provides space and the opportunity for children to come to terms with the reality of death on their own time and support. Even with something as devasting as death, hope and healing are possible. God came to earth so that we may experience abundant life through Jesus even within the darkest of moments.
On Thursday, October 12th at 6 p.m., The Lighthouse Church will launch Thrive. Thrive is a grief ministry for children ages five to seventeen. Thrive is a weekly two-hour group that meets for thirteen consecutive weeks. Thrive will provide opportunities for children to express their grief through creative and positive interactions with their peers.
If you’d like more information about Thrive, please go to tlccma.org or reach out to Kristen McClure at firstname.lastname@example.org
~Gary Hrynoweski / Lead Pastor / Lighthouse Church