Walking the Mourner’s Path is a national program run by volunteers in the Episcopal Church, and it uses a set, 8-week curriculum handled by trained volunteer facilitators. The specific curriculum and the small group size (~6 participants in each group) sets up the possibility to build trust with the group and facilitators, and really spend time focusing on grief in specific ways. The program recommends that participants be several months from their loss, but a facilitator can talk with each participant before the group to discern whether it’s an appropriate time to participate. All conversations before or during groups are kept confidential.
St Thomas has served as a regional training center for the program, and offers groups at various times throughout the year. For information about upcoming groups, please contact our parish office at 913-451-0512.
We have a theology of grief that we operate from: grief is not something to get rid of; it is something we learn how to hold as we continue to live. Walking the Mourner’s Path exercises work in a way similar to physical therapy: by gently talking about our grief, sharing stories, and working with one another, we work the “muscles” that hold grief — muscles most of us don’t use until we have to. The work is “challenge by choice;” although we encourage one another to share stories and reflect on questions and topics, we respect boundaries and comfort levels. Grief is about the loss of someone truly holy and important in our lives, and so God is present to the pain we have.
The group uses workbooks and some small materials; all costs are covered by previous participants, who are given the opportunity to sponsor someone if they find the group helpful.