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When grief and loss affect staff

The holidays are difficult for many people following the death of a loved one or other significant loss. Those in ministry must attend to their own grief in order to provide effective pastoral care to others.

  • Incorporate a prayer into staff meetings that invites staff members to mention, if they are comfortable, any deaths or significant losses they have experienced in the last year.
  • Provide reflection time at the start of meetings to allow staff members to become more aware of their own emotional needs.
  • When organizing the holiday schedule, try to accommodate some staff requests for personal events.
  • If possible, put off lower priority office responsibilities during Advent and allow more flexible scheduling.
  • Before the holiday rush, invite a speaker to lead a discussion with staff about handling their own grief and in ministering to others during the holidays.

Stephen Carroll, Ph.D., LCPC, is a member of the clinical services staff at Saint Luke Institute.