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In conjunction with the Desert Southwest Conference Health & Caring Committee, Rev. Louie Lyon extends an invitation to expand your church’s ministry to the online community.

By Rev. Louie Lyon

Lyon, Rev. Louie

Rev. Louie Lyon, Dove of the Desert UMC, Glendale, AZ

This is a written invitation to any church in the Desert Southwest Conference to try out a new virtual grief group session offered by Rev. Louie Lyon of Dove of the Desert UMC in Glendale, Arizona. There are two purposes for this invitation.

    1. To invite your folks who might be suffering from any type of loss to participate in an on-going virtual grief group if your church does not already offer one.
    2. The second purpose is to show you how you might lead such a group yourself if you are inclined to do so.

Sessions are offered at 1:00 PM (Arizona Time) on Mondays via Zoom. If you or one of your church members is interested in checking it out, email Pastor Louie for an invitation. If, after you have viewed a session, you desire a step-by-step template, Pastor Louie will forward one to you. You can tailor it to your church’s circumstances. Louie’s email address is .

How does a grief group work?

Typical in-person grief group sessions last about an hour, depending on input from the participants. The first session follows the following format:

  1. Open with Prayer
  2. Give folks an opportunity to introduce themselves and share about their loss or what grief they are going through at this time.
  3. Take the Twenty-Five Statement True or False Grief Test. Then, discuss the answers to the test.
  4. Read an article on understanding grief.
  5. Go over a sheet that has words that express grief. Invite everyone to circle the words that relate to them at the moment. This is open to group discussion.
  6. Go over the sheet, “The Four Key Facts About Grief Are”
      • The way out of grief is through it…
      • The very worst kind of grief is yours…
      • Grief is hard work….
      • Effective Grief Work is not done alone…
  7. Discuss feelings about each of the above keys.
  8. End with a humorous story to let the group leave laughing.
  9. Close with a prayer and invitation to the next session.

Will the same format work online?

Grief groups are needed not only because of the times we are in, but because there is a great difference between grief and mourning, and one does not heal from their grief until they learn to mourn. A grief group gives us that opportunity.

Please understand that this endeavor is offered through Zoom because we cannot meet on our church campus. I have provided grief groups for over 25 years in person and now virtually too.

One of the things that I stress before the first session is ensuring persons register in advance so that you you can send them the Zoom sign-on information and handouts in advance. If you are interested in trying it out or want to share the opportunity to join my group email me at .

The last issue is ensuring folks understand they will be seen over the computer when they participate in these sessions. Therefore we need everyone to acknowledge their permission to be photographed because that is what happens when your computer camera turns on for our Zoom session.

Rev. Louie Lyon
Dove of the Desert UMC

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