When members of the church experience loss, it can be difficult for pastors to discern how best to care for them. What can spiritual leaders expect in the grief process? What are we to do, to say, to journey with those who have experienced loss? What mistakes might we make that do more harm than good?
In Navigating the River of Grief, Rev. Dr. Bonnie Bates shares the results of her important research into the grief process. Her concept of grief as a river is inspired by several biblical references to water, both its ability to threaten and give life. Bates uses case studies to present grief not as the neat linear progression of stages we'd like it to be; rather, it is a river that sweeps the bereaved along in unpredictable ways. Its choppy waters cause pain and its depths are menacing, but when we understand the flow of its currentas a spiritual journey we can better help the bereaved navigate toward new life.
Navigating the River of Griefprovides pastors with invaluable resources when providing grief ministry:
Together with the Bible itself, Navigating the River of Grief will inform your ministry with spiritual truth about those hours between the night of weeping and the joy the Lord brings in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Rev. Dr. Bonnie Batesis currently serving in the United Church of Christ as the Associate Minister for Congregational Vitality and Development in the Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve Associations of the Ohio Conference. Her 12 years as a local church pastor informs her current work. Bates' background, prior to her call to ordained ministry, involves extensive work in the management of non-profit organizations including the Girl Scouts and the Al Sigl Center. Her educational background includes a BA in Organization Management, a MA in Human Resource Development, a Master of Divinity, and a Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the creation of the model which is the basis for this book.