UCC Starts Grief Ministry for Those in Need

When Heidi Jones started working part-time for the Adventist Community Services department at Upper Columbia Conference, she didn’t quite know what to expect.

“As I looked around at my friends, other church members and our community, I was struck by how many of them were working to process grief and loss,” said Jones.

Jones is very familiar with the topic of grief and how to journey with others who are facing it. In addition to her work at the conference, Jones also serves part-time as a hospice chaplain with Logan Health Hospice in Kalispell, Montana. Her work there includes providing emotional and spiritual support to husbands, wives, siblings, mothers, fathers and children who have lost loved ones.

“When I tell others what kind of work that I do, I usually get a response of ‘Wow, that’s difficult work. I could never do what you do.’ In reality, though, I find it so fulfilling,” said Jones. “It’s an honor to step into such a significant moment with others and hopefully help them feel seen, cared for and even reassured of God’s presence with them amid the painful realities they are experiencing.”

With years of experience and training in this area, Jones approached her supervisor, Patty Marsh, UCC Adventist Community Services director, with an idea of one way to help address grief in the conference. The idea was to develop an eDevotional, Peace, Be Still.

This complimentary, weekly eDevotional provides support and comfort to those journeying through the shadows of grief and loss. Each week’s issue includes a primary message, a scripture promise, a prayer and a link to a song or two which relates to the theme of the particular eDevotional.

“I wanted to create something that someone facing grief could expect to receive in their email each week — something they could read in the comfort of their home, or wherever they are, in the moment they need it most,” said Jones. “I wanted the eDevotional to address a variety of experiences and challenges that the grieving face — all through a hopeful lens of faith.”

Jones set out to locate a broad range of authors to assist in this outreach. Chaplains, pastors, grief coaches, healthcare workers and several individuals who have experienced various forms of loss share their hearts and expertise in these weekly messages. This intentional diversity was chosen in hopes of connecting effectively with a variety of readers.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback as recipients share that it feels good to know that their church acknowledges and cares about these painful realities of life in a fallen world,” added Jones.

“As we continue to await the return of our precious Savior, it’s helpful to be reminded we are not alone amid our grief and losses. It’s God’s plan for us to come alongside one another however we can, reminding them of our care and ultimately pointing them to the Comforter Himself. This eDevotional is another way of doing just that.”

If you are interested in receiving the Peace, Be Still eDevotional, all are welcome. You can subscribe to this service at uccsda.org/peacebestill.

Featured in: March/April 2024